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Robin van Persie hails "nice guy" Mario Balotelli

Robin van Persie admits that he has always got along with former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has insisted that he has nothing but nice things to say about Mario Balotelli.

Twenty-two-year-old Balotelli, who joined AC Milan from Manchester City last month, stoked up a lot of controversy during his two-and-a-half-year stint in the Premier League.

However, Van Persie has revealed that he always found the Italian international to be pleasant, both on and off the pitch.

"I have always been a fan of Balotelli. He is quick, strong and is courageous. He has all the qualities a striker needs to succeed at the highest level," Van Persie was quoted as saying by NUsport.

"And he really is a nice guy as well. We spoke to each other every now and then when he still played at Manchester City.

"You have people who initially look like nice guys, but turn out to be different in the end. Balotelli is the exact opposite. He might not look like a nice lad, but he definitely is."

Van Persie will come up against Balotelli tomorrow night when Holland take on Italy in Amsterdam.

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on the touchline during the match against Everton on December 1, 2012
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