Good: "It was hard to see a player wasting so much talent"Vieira’s Regrets with Balotelic


Young Crystal Palace coach Patrick Vieira reflects on his early coaching experiences in an interview with Sky Sports, discussing the unique Balotelli case.

By chance the coaching fell on him. When he was a player, Patrick Vieira never imagined that one day he would coach a great football team, then three top clubs at only 45 years old, not even dreaming. “It was not something I had planned, to be honest, he told Sky Sports. When I was playing, I was saying that coaching is not for me, that I want to do something else. Wasn’t on my mind.”


It was during a stint at the Manchester City club academy that something clicked: “I realized what I liked most was with the players. The way they looked at me, the way we talked to each other , the advice I was able to give them. Those are the things I loved.” The 1998 world champion got to play under the command of Best, from whom he inevitably learned a lot.

“But I didn’t want to be another Capello, another Wenger or another Mourinho, trying to imitate what they were doing or saying, because I knew it wouldn’t work. I wanted to be very clear about what I expected from a manager, and players. So this experience in New York was extremely important to me. It allowed me to figure out how I I was going to become a manager of and what kind of football I was going to develop.”

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“Someone I Will Always Love”

Although he faced a complicated dressing room to manage in New York, where superstars Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa earned far more than their peers, Vieira was unwilling to move on with Mario Balotelli. Like others before him, the Frenchman tried to get the best out of this talented player, but never succeeded with OGC Nice.

“I played with Mario for a few years, Vieira explained. He was a kid when I was at Inter, then I played with him again at Manchester City. He’s a sweet boy and I love him. Like , but it was a challenge to train him in Nice because it was very disappointing to see a player wasting so much talent. As a manager you try to get the best and the maximum out of each player, and that is ” It was really hard to do with him. It was, of course, a disappointment not being able to do this with him, but he is someone I will love forever.”


Vieira talks affectionately about Balotelli, but had to put their friendship aside when the striker’s contract was terminated only six months after he took over: “I think he’s going to be a manager. It’s very important to communicate with my players, but having a good relationship with them doesn’t mean I have to agree with them.” Patrick Vieira also knows how to be ruthless.

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