Mario Balotelli: I could've been at Messi/Ronaldo level

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The former Manchester City striker had previously claimed that he was just as good as the two stars during a training session in the 2011/12 campaign.

That comment had come a year after Balotelli had won the Golden Boy award, with the forward clinching a treble with Inter Milan before making the move to the Etihad in August 2010.

Scroll through the gallery to see every Golden Boy
Scroll through the gallery to see every Golden Boy Award winner since 2010 
Golden Boy 2020 - Erling Haaland
Golden Boy 2020 - Erling Haaland
Golden Boy 2019 - Joao Felix
Golden Boy 2019 - Joao Felix
Golden Boy 2018 - Matthijs de Ligt
Golden Boy 2018 - Matthijs de Ligt
Golden Boy 2017 - Kylian Mbappe
Golden Boy 2017 - Kylian Mbappe
Golden Boy 2016 - Renato Sanches
Golden Boy 2016 - Renato Sanches
Golden Boy 2015 - Anthony Martial
Golden Boy 2015 - Anthony Martial
Golden Boy 2014 - Raheem Sterling
Golden Boy 2014 - Raheem Sterling
Golden Boy 2013 - Paul Pogba
Golden Boy 2013 - Paul Pogba
Golden Boy 2012 - Isco
Golden Boy 2012 - Isco
Golden Boy 2011 - Mario Gotze
Golden Boy 2011 - Mario Gotze
Golden Boy 2010 - Mario Balotelli
Golden Boy 2010 - Mario Balotelli

In a recent meet-up with his ex-City teammate Nedum Onuoha, who was at that training session when he made the remark, the marksman did not change his tune, although he admitted that he failed to take his opportunities when he had them.

"But I am 100% sure that my quality is the same level as these people, but I… I missed some chances, you know? It happens.

"And nowadays, I cannot say I'm as good as Ronaldo, because Ronaldo won how many golden balls (Ballons d'Or)? Five? You cannot compare yourself to Messi and Ronaldo, nobody can.

"But if we're talking about only quality, football quality, I have nothing to be jealous of them, to be honest."

The 31-year-old also revealed what he considers to be the biggest mistake of his career.

"I think that was my biggest mistake, to leave City," he added.

"Even in the year when I left, I played very well in Milan for a year and a half, but after that, I had some problems. And now that I'm older, I know that I shouldn't have left City at that time.

"All these years seeing City improving, improving and improving. I could have been here like Sergio Aguero for a long time.

"If I had my mindset now, when I was at City, probably one golden ball (Ballon d'Or) I could have won, I'm sure about this.

"But you know, when you grow up, you mature more, so…"