Mario Balotelli produced his only Premier League assist for Manchester City to set up the greatest moment in the club’s history.
The Italian striker teed up Sergio Aguero to net the last-gasp winner that saw City beat QPR on the final day of the season, handing them their first Premier League title in 44 years.
With the game poised at 2-2 and City’s bitter rivals Manchester United having one hand on the title, Aguero picked up the ball deep, pitched it in to Balotelli’s feet, receiving the ball back and hammering it into the net.
That pretty much sums Balotelli up at the Etihad. You always knew he had something brilliant in his locker, but you had no idea when he was going to unleash it.
And although Aguero is now recognised as one of the club’s greatest ever players, Balotelli earned a massive cult following at City. And City fans who like the madcap striker, who now plays in Ligue 1 with Nice, will love this anecdote from Aguero.
Speaking to Match of the Day magazine ahead of the five-year anniversary of that goal, Aguero admitted he was worried that Balotelli would scupper his plans for City’s win.
Aguero said he informed Balotelli of his idea to drop deep and play a one-two, but wasn’t sure if his team-mate was even listening because he was “a bit crazy”.
“I said to Mario Balotelli ‘Stay close to me, I’m going to try and play a one-two at some point’.
“Mario just went ‘yeah, yeah, yeah!’ I don’t know if he was actually listening to me! He is a bit crazy so maybe he didn’t understand!”
“A few seconds later, the chance came.”
“It was the first time I’d actually dropped deep in the entire game, I’d been marked by the defence but I came deep to receive the ball.
“I turned, if you look on the video you’ll see that I look up when I get hold of the ball so I can look for where Mario is. So I get a chance with the outside of my foot to just play into Mario.
“Then, incredibly, Mario was falling – but with a great amount of skill he managed to play it back to me and I burst into the area.
“My first thought was, if I can get it a little bit out of my feet, beyond the defender, I can perhaps get a penalty because there was some slight contact, but the ref probably wouldn’t have given it!
“So I kept going, I kept my shot low and to the near post and it went in!”
And the rest, as they say, is history. You should never have doubted him, Sergio.