Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng got into an Instagram battle

It’s not often that two of the greatest players in the world (don’t @ me unless your standards for greatness align with mine completely) are good friends.

It’s even rarer that world-class friends display their inspiring kinship in the same way common savages like us do: with a series of Instagram insults. Thankfully, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mario Balotelli are men of the people and when they decided to clown each other, they did it publicly, so millions of us could enjoy it. Temporarily.

The fun started last week when Boateng wished his former AC Milan teammate Balotelli a happy 25th birthday.

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Nice, right? Super Mario doesn’t get much positivity tossed his way, so it’s cool to see someone who he’s played with and knows him on a personal level wish him well. At the current exchange rate, a “Happy Birthday” from Kevin-Prince Boateng is worth at least three from Steven Gerrard, or Soccer Gods forbid, Jordan Henderson.

But, as good friends do, KPB couldn’t let the day end with sunshine and butterflies. He had to get a shot in.

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That’s real brotherly love right there. Your boy goes out in public wearing a toe sock from one of those Game of Thrones giants on his head, it’s your sacred duty to store that information, and bring it back up at an opportune time, particularly when he’s celebrating something. Those are the rules.

Of course, Balotelli, Instagram humorist gawd in his own right, couldn’t let that disrespect stand. This morning, he dug deep into what I imagine is a hard drive full of “In case of slander” emergency photos of his friends and dropped this gem.

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German (or German-Ghanaian, as it were) players, per capita, take more embarrassing photographs than citizens of any other FIFA recognized nation, so Balotelli is working at a slight material resource advantage. I don’t know what Boateng was doing there, but if that pose came at the request of a Schalke official, he should have immediately forced a transfer away from the club.

Boateng quickly fired off a warning shot.

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But Balotelli was ready. It seems that not only does Boateng wear his shorts at a questionable waist height, but he may also suffer from some unfortunate digestive issues. Maybe Activia yogurt products haven’t made it to Europe yet?

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Oh snap!

Perhaps feeling like Balotelli had backed him into a corner, Boateng fired off an impressive flurry of posts.

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“That moment you wanna be one of the twilight family #edward”

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It wasn’t looking good on the scoreboard for Balotelli after that. Had I been called in to consult, I would have coached Mario on how to use this magnificent video of his Liverpool sideline appearance from Monday to his advantage.

Sadly, my phone did not ring.

Instead, Balotelli went back to the fashion realm, going full-meme on Boateng’s Kool Moe Dee shades. Not a bad effort, but not matching the intensity of Boateng’s onslaught. To be fair, there may not be a way to come back from those blue contact lenses. Not a legal one, anyway.

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NOTE: The above images are actually screen grabs from the top secret Slack chat of the Soccer Gods Instagram Journalism Research and Development Center. Why? Because humans of the world are fun-ruiners, got WAY too serious and vile in the comments section about two good friends joking with each other, and forced Boateng and Balotelli to delete most of the good stuff. Obviously, as pioneers in the Insta-journo game, our crack staff was able to recover these images and deliver this breaking news to the people. #Pulitzer

In the end, Kevin-Prince Boateng was the clear winner of this digital sparring match.

Just to be sure that lunatic fans and blood-thirsty tabloids are clear that everything is cool, both Boateng and Balotelli posted this photo after all the jokes had been deleted from their accounts.

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