ENGLAND’S most expensive player Raheem Sterling scored less than three minutes into his Manchester City debut yesterday, prompting former Liverpool team-mate Mario Balotelli to spark a Twitter row.
Sterling slotted home just 137 seconds into City’s pre-season tour match against Roma in Melbourne, his first appearance since leaving Anfield under a cloud in a £49m transfer.
Balotelli, who has struggled to win over Liverpool fans since his own £16m move last summer, riled Reds fans further by congratulating Sterling via social media, writing: “Best answer. Keep it up.”
Deluged with irate responses, the former City striker insisted Liverpool fans were “amazing” but urged them to back the 20-year-old, who attracted fierce criticism for the manner in which he engineered an exit.
Balotelli added: “He’s a good guy, young and talented. Support him like you always did. He gave everything to this club and respect [sic] it so I’m sad to see this.”
Sterling played 45 minutes as City beat Roma on penalties after a lively 2-2 draw in the Australian leg of the International Champions Cup at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “We bought him because he has a big future. He’s the player we need in our team.”