AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has admitted he can’t wait to travel to Glasgow with the Rossoneri after hearing about the Celtic Park atmosphere from team-mate Kaka.
The 23-year-old striker, who joined AC Milan after a turbulent spell at Manchester City, told The Sun that his Brazilian team-mate, who recently rejoined the club from Real Madrid, had told the team that it would be ‘tough’ in Glasgow because of the atmosphere.
Balotelli said: “Kaka has told us about the games he has played in for Milan against Celtic. He has warned us it will be tough. Especially so in Scotland with the atmosphere they create.
“To play in atmospheres that are intense is when I play my best football.”
Kaka himself has played for the Serie A giants in Glasgow three times - and on each occasion has left Scotland frustrated. The Brazilian midfielder played in a 0-0 draw in December 2004, another goalless draw in spring 2007 and was part of the team that lost narrowly in Glasgow later that year.
And Balotelli has insisted that his AC Milan team-mates won’t underestimate Celtic.
The striker added: “We know that every game in this group is going to be tough and that includes the two against Celtic.
“Last season they showed they are not in the Champions League to make up the numbers. They got further than Chelsea and Manchester City last season. That says a lot about their talent and character.
“Maybe nobody expected Celtic to beat Barcelona - but this is football, and what you expect to happen doesn’t always happen. There will be more surprises this season - there always is.”
Celtic may be without four key players from last season’s European campaign - Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson have all left the club while young striker Tony Watt is on loan at Belgian side Lierse - but Balotelli revealed he holds new signing Nir Biton in high regard, after seeing the Israeli international on trial at Eastlands.
“I remember Nir and the players at City were impressed with him. I just think there were some issues with a work permit.
“City, as everybody knows, have the the money to sign the best players in the world. So the fact they were interested in Nir is a big compliment for him.”
Balotelli also opened up on his strained relationship with former Celtic striker Paolo di Canio. The Sunderland manager once claimed the outspoken striker should be given a slap.
The Milan striker said: “I do not remember di Canio playing for Celtic - I was not old enough for that!
“He has said some things that are not complimentary about me - but I have no need to react. I will focus on my goal to be successful with Milan and become the best player in the world.”
Celtic face AC Milan in Glasgow on November 26th, with the Hoops confirming today that all their Champions League packages had sold out just after 10am.
A Celtic spokesperson told the club’s official website: “The Club would like to thank our supporters who have responded magnificently and ensured that we´ll have three sell-out nights at Celtic Park.
“Our supporters make a huge contribution and they´ll play an important role as we look forward to our games against Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax.”