Balotelli riles Reds as Sterling enjoys flying start for City

Frank Dalleres
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Sterling took just 137 seconds to score for City against Roma
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.”

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