Balotelli can be new Ibrahimovic for Milan, claims Allegri

The coach is just the latest to laud his winter signing and, although the striker’s professionalism has been brought into question in the past, Allegri defended his star man

AC Milan trainer Massimiliano Allegri believes striker Mario Balotelli can become the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the club.

The Swede left the Rossoneri to embark on a new adventure with Paris Saint-Germain last summer, but not before firing the team to a Scudetto triumph in 2011.

And Allegri has backed Balotelli to eventually match the exploits of his predeccessor, citing his professionalism after he turned down the chance to fly to New York to be presented with a Time magazine award.

“Balotelli has the potential to become what Ibra was for us in the past,” the 45-year-old told reporters on the eve of his side’s clash with Juventus.

“It was Mario’s choice [to remain in Italy] and I think it shows his professionalism. He thought it important to stay here and train ahead of the match against Catania.

“He’s a target for the media and whatever he does creates news. But so far, you can’t say anything about him.”

Meanwhile, with Ibrahimovic reportedly considering a return to Serie A in the near future, Allegri ruled his side out of making a bid, though, he declared an admiration for his former player.

“He’s an extraordinary player and was fundamental for our title win,” he concluded.

“Who wouldn’t want him? But given the money he’s on, I doubt he’ll come back to Italy.”

The former Juventus and Inter forward has scored 26 goals in just 28 Ligue 1 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit.

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