Date: 19th September 2014 at 1:16pm
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West Ham midfielder Alex Song has offered some kind words for Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, ahead of the Reds trip to Upton Park tomorrow, reports the Express.

Former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Song completed his switch to east London, and is set to come up against Balotelli tomorrow after the Italian fired his first Liverpool goal in midweek.

And the Cameroon international says that despite Balotelli’s habit of playing the ‘bad boy’, he has a lot of respect for him both as a player and a person.

“Mario is a strong player and a strong character. I love him because when people talk about him in a bad way, he can’t wait to show people they are wrong,” Song said.

“He goes out and it’s like he says, ‘Look at me, I am a bad guy, but I can score a lot of goals’.

“During games you want to be the winner and sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. You know you have to be an example for the young kids and everyone makes mistakes.

“I like the player and I like the man. When you see guys on the pitch, you can sometimes think they are arrogant but they are not. Outside of football you see a different face on the man.

“I have seen him do lots of things to make people smile. You can’t buy smiles. At the World Cup I saw that he was doing lots of things for young people in Brazil, he was helping young kids.

“Last December I went to Guinea for a charity to help the poor and I asked him if he would sign a shirt for me. He said, ‘Don’t worry my brother’ and two days later a signed shirt from him and one from Kaka arrived.”