Rooney Is Not Even The Best In Manchester

After declaring Manchester City boast the world's most fearsome strike force, Mario Balotelli delivered a stinging rebuke to Wayne Rooney, claiming the England star is not even the best striker in Manchester. Balotelli lit the blue touch paper ahead of next month's crucial Manchester derby at Old Trafford between the two title rivals, in which he could make a dramatic return from injury.

The Italy international has been missing for Roberto Mancini’s men since late December with a recurrence of a knee injury. But the 20-year-old, who arrived on a five-year deal at Eastlands for £24million last summer, does not require surgery as first feared and now hopes to return to action sooner than initially expected.

In his last game before injury, in December, Balotelli put Aston Villa to the sword with a stunning hat-trick, equalling Rooney’s Manchester United tally for the season in one game. And the supremely confident ex-Inter Milan youngster took aim at the misfiring United marksman, stating Rooney is not the best forward in town anymore, suggesting United fans would love to have him in their side.

"Rooney is a very good player but not the best in Manchester. Do United fans insult me? No, they stop me in the street and say come to us. Our attack of Balotelli-Tevez-Dzeko is the best in the world - better even than Barcelona and Real Madrid. We are the strongest and we can win things now - we just lack conviction," said Balotelli.

Balotelli keen to link up with new £27million recruit Edin Dzeko and Carlo Tevez in time for their key showdown against United on February 12, he is also desperate to return with a bang in order to repay the City faithful’s support. "I dream of beating them [United] because I know how much the City fans care, They are wonderful with me. When they sang my name after the hat-trick I scored, I had chills," he added.

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