Giggs praises "strange" Balotelli

Ryan Giggs has lavished praise on Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli ahead of Sunday's derby match, but admitted the Italian is "strange".

Balotelli has grabbed headlines both on and off the pitch for his goals and for also his japes, which have included reportedly playing with his iPad on the subs bench during an Italy match, and confronting school bullies of young fans.

City and United are separated by just two points at the top of the Premier League and face each other at Old Trafford on Sunday.

And 37-year-old Giggs, who won the 2011 Golden Foot Award, gave Balotelli the biggest of backhanded compliments.

“He is very good, but also a little strange,” he said at the event.

“In England all but the City fans hate him. But trust me, he is very talented.”

The veteran United midfielder was part of the squad that lost last season's Champions League final to Barcelona, and is hoping to exact revenge on Pep Guardiola’s side if his team face them this campaign.

“Hopefully. We want to win the trophy," he said when asked if Sir Alex Ferguson's men can win the trophy.

“If we face Barcelona it would be the opportunity to have our revenge.”