The legendary No.10 revealed the Italian once sent him a photo of himself smoking a cigar, while also admitting he hopes Lionel Messi will lead Argentina to World Cup glory
The legendary Argentine No.10 revealed that he has a real fondness for the Italy international, with whom he can empathise on account of the youngster's quirky sense of humour, not to mention his habit of creating controversy on and off the field.
"My first contact I had with Mario was a picture he sent me of him smoking a cigar," Maradona explained. "I liked it - I laughed.
"I would like talk to Mario by ourselves, in a room, and I would explain him the bad experiences I had in football. People should leave Balotelli in peace.
"I think you should first look at what kind of player he is and a manager should judge him for what he is on the pitch.
"I like him. For me, there is [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Balotelli."
Maradona, of course, coached Messi at the 2010 World Cup, which ended in disappointment for both men, with the 52-year-old losing his job after Argentina's quarter-final exit, and the Barcelona star coming in for criticism after failing to score a single goal.
Maradona is, therefore, desperate for Messi to exact "revenge" on his detractors by inspiring Argentina to glory in Brazil next summer.
"I am not disappointed by Messi in 2010," the former World Cup winner said. "If he had of scored the chances he missed we would be world champions. He was unlucky.
"But I hope that he can take his revenge in Brazil."
Maradona is currently out of the game, having parted company with Al Wasl last year, and he explained that he is prepared to wait for his dream job.
"When Benitez will leave Napoli, I would like to replace him," the Partenopei icon added. -------------------- goal.com