Inter Milan’s Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Barcelona has been praised by the Italian media, but not the antics of Mario Balotelli.
The country’s leading newspapers in the main hailed Jose Mourinho’s side for their stunning 3-1 win over holders Barca at the San Siro.
Milan-based Gazzetta dello Sport highlighted Inter’s fighting spirit as they came from behind to triumph and continue their unbeaten home record in all competitions this campaign.
“Mega Inter: We are the Martians,” read its headline.
Gazzetta had said Barca were “out of this world” after thumping Arsenal in the second leg of their quarter-final.
Barca had not lost away from home in the Champions League in the last two years prior to Tuesday night’s loss.
Gazzetta added: “Historic achievement, Barcelona beaten 3-1.”
Rome’s sport-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport also paid tribute to Inter’s play and reckons the Nerazzurri have one foot in next month’s Champions League final, which will be played in Madrid.
“Legend Inter,” was Corriere’s headline. “A wonderful 3-1 win over world champions Barcelona. The Champions League final is closer.”
Last night’s victory was not without its controversy, however, with teenage substitute Balotelli throwing his shirt to the ground at the end of the game and marching angrily towards the tunnel after being given a less than supportive welcome by the home fans.
The 19-year-old striker has had a fractious relationship with Mourinho this season and last month infuriated his coach by wearing an AC Milan jersey on an Italian television show.
Gazzetta wrote: “Balotelli ruins the party.”
Turin-based Tuttosport also criticised Balotelli.
“Inter (put on) show but Balotelli infuriates everyone,” read its headline.
National newspaper La Repubblica believe the teenager will leave at the end of the season and claimed he marred the win.
They said: “Inter three goals against Barcelona but it’s a fracture with Balotelli.”
Inter travel to the Nou Camp next Wednesday for the return leg.