While it might not be considered his usual fare, Mario Balotelli seems to have taken Brendan Rodgers' recent criticism square on the chin.
On Sunday night, Rodgers spoke at Celtic's Player of the Year awards, participating in a Q and A with fans who had submitted questions to their title-winning manager beforehand.
When asked to name the best player he ever trained, names such as Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and perhaps even Moussa Dembele were surely whispered around the room. Rather than definitively burn bridges with any of his loyal former or current charges, however, Rodgers went for the wildcard option, and a man whom the Northern Irishman likely never wishes to manage again, much to the enjoyment of those in attendance.
— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) May 3, 2017
Balotelli, who once had a crown-wearing stick man sketched for him by Rodgers during a three-hour psychological masterclass, has since become aware of the dig.
Never one to take criticism too seriously...cough!...the Nice striker returned the favour on Twitter, complete with a plethora of emojis lest anybody fail to grasp the distinct lack of sincerity in his response.
Brendan Rodgers you are also the best manager I ever had😂😘😘. Amazing.
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) May 3, 2017
Balotelli has scored a decent 14 league goals in 21 appearances (18 starts) this season, and his Nice side currently stand in third spot in Ligue 1 - just six points off leaders Monaco.
He torched second place PSG on Sunday night, scoring a goal during Nice's 3-1 victory over the French champions which moved the Riviera club to within three points of the Parisiens.