Mario Balotelli was something of an inspiration for Erling Haaland, it has been revealed during BT Sport's coverage of the Champions League Final between Manchester City and Inter Milan.
The broadcaster brought in Balotelli as a surprise guest for their coverage at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, and it made sense given that the Italian has played for both of the competing clubs.
Those who remember Balotelli playing for Man City will have fond memories of his off-field antics, though he certainly left his mark on the field as well, helping the club to their famous 2011/12 Premier League title win.
Erling Haaland in Mario Balotelli shirt
A decade on, Haaland has taken Balotelli's mantle as the most talked-about Man City player, but there was a time when the Norwegian worshipped the former striker.
A Man City fan in his youth, it has been revealed that Haaland once had a shirt with 'Balotelli 45' on the back, in homage to the fiery forward.
When shown a clip of this on BT Sport duty, Balotelli seemed chuffed, saying that the now-22-year-old "learned good".
Like the rest of the world, Balotelli is hugely impressed by the footballer that the young Haaland has evolved into, as he continued:
"I think he's amazing. He's like a predator in the area, he's very fast. With five chances he'll score five goals, so he's amazing."
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 10, 2023
Man City idol
Balotelli scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for Man City, a tally that has already nearly been doubled by Haaland in just over 50 games for the club.
Still, the former must have done something right, if the most prolific striker of the modern age saw something in him.