Mario Balotelli once chose to square up to Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic – before stepping back in genuine fear.

Vidic is one of the most-feared defenders in Premier League history and was a rock for United across eight years.

Not many strikers fancied their chances against the Serbian, but Balotelli attempted to give it a try during his time at Manchester City.

The two sides faced off in the 2011 Community Shield with Balotelli and Vidic getting into a scuffle.

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Balotelli took issue with Vidic hauling him to the ground and they quickly butted heads upon getting to their feet.

It only took a few seconds for the Italian to back down however and he didn’t look too thrilled walking away.

One fan commented: “Vidic is one of those mature players who never got into a fight but could smash any opponents if he wanted to.”

Another added: “Balotelli thought he was dueling Rio Ferdinand then he turned, saw Vidic and walked away.”

A third stated: “It’s not just mario..there isnt a player in the league who wanted to catch a fade with Vidic… Serbian beast!”

While a fourth explained: “One of my favourite Vidic moments. Balotelli sizes up thinking he’s going to intimidate him, Vidic doesn’t flinch for a second and suddenly Super Mario turns into a Shy Guy.”

Balotelli isn’t the only man to feel Vidic’s wrath – although Kyle Walker got hit with a fiery tackle to boot.

United took on Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 and found themselves 2-1 down early in the second half.

Realising the tempo needed to be upped, club captain Vidic decided to smash into Walker out on the wing.

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A loose ball bounces to the edge of the box and both players decide to go with it as fast as possible.

Walker is still one of the league’s fastest players and reached the ball quicker – but he didn’t bargain on Vidic’s massive lunge.

He went to ground and clattered into Walker, who flipped high into the air before crashing down to the White Hart Lane turf.

It was a fair tackle however and it means Vidic could dust himself off and continue the game with no punishment.

The tackle has become so synonymous with Vidic’s no-nonsense image, he was even asked about it after retiring.

He told FourFourTwo in 2016: “I don’t remember all of my tackles – I was sometimes playing with concussion – but I remember that one.

“Kyle went honestly for the ball and so did I. It’s why I like that challenge: it doesn’t matter who won; what mattered is that we both went for the ball. I love that about English football and hope it never changes.”

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