Jose Mourinho has a soft spot for Mario Balotelli.
The Portuguese manager worked with the maverick Italian while at Inter Milan, and added himself to the long list of managers who found it impossible to cope with the striker.
Six years after the pair left Italy, their careers have taken somewhat different paths, with Mourinho chasing another league title to add to his collection, and Balotelli struggling to get a game anywhere.
The former Manchester City striker is surplus to requirements at Liverpool, and has been told by Jurgen Klopp to find another club before the end of the transfer window.
That’s proving difficult though, as many clubs look at Balotelli as a lost cause, and one that won’t repay the kind of money necessary to buy him.
But, with the pair now living barely an hour away from each other in the north west of England, they’ve met up to discuss the forward’s future, according to Italian publication, Calciomercato.
However, before all you Manchester United fans kick off at the thought of Balotelli pulling on a red shirt anytime soon, the meeting was not to discuss a move to Old Trafford, but rather to talk about his attitude, which is threatening to ruin a once promising career.
Looking at him now, it’s almost hard to believe that Balotelli was once one of the world’s most highly rated strikers, and at one point, looked like fulfilling that potential.
But a series of off the pitch controversies – including setting fireworks off from his bathroom window, crashing his Audi R8, and throwing a dart out of a first floor window when the Man City youth team were standing below – have derailed his career.
So it looks like this meeting was something of an intervention on Mourinho’s part, as he tries to help one of his former players falling into the wilderness at the age of 26.
Whether or not Mourinho’s words will be taken any notice of will be answered in time, but Balotelli needs to change quickly, or face another damaging season that will severely affect his career.