Manchester City winger Jack Grealish has established a reputation for being a relaxed operator off the pitch with the former Aston Villa star pegged as a throwback to the early Premier League era.
With huge amounts of attention on Pep Guardiola’s side, Grealish cheerful demeanour has won him an army of fans, for club and country, as the 27-year-old offers a fresh take on the image of a modern day top-flight footballer.
However, Grealish’s banter has also landed him in hot water at City, with the former Premier League transfer record holder criticised for his comments about Newcastle forward Miguel Almiron after the 2021/22 season.
Grealish has since apologised for the incident, but Magpies fans have slammed his attitude, with the England international coming in for bashing on social media.
Here’s how the saga unfolded: what Grealish said, how Almiron responded, and what the Man City star said in his apology.
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What happened between Grealish and Almiron?
The issue dates back to City’s Premier League title parade in Manchester at the end of the 2021/22 season, as Grealish celebrated his first major title at the Etihad Stadium.
As the open-top party bus snaked through the streets of Manchester, a drunk Grealish was caught on video making negative mocking comments about Almiron, in a clip that immediately circulated on social media.
What did Grealish say about Almiron?
The video painted Grealish in a poor light, as he claimed in a chat with teammate Bernardo Silva that there had been two ‘secrets’ to City’s Premier League title-clinching victory over Aston Villa.
Grealish aimed a jibe at fellow City star Riyad Mahrez, stating the Algerian deserved to be substituted, quipping that ‘he played like Almiron, get him off the pitch’.
Jack Grealish and Miguel Almiron are set to battle it out again on the pitch tomorrow.
👇 A reminder of what the City man said about the Paraguayan at the end of last season.
🎥: bernardocarvalhosilva on Instagrampic.twitter.com/EMa2uQ4hz9
— Sporting News Football Club (@sn_footballclub) March 3, 2023
The comment referred to City’s final game of the season, which required a nail-biting 3-2 home win over Aston Villa, to clinch the title, with Mahrez substituted just before the hour mark, as City came from two goals down to win.
Manchester City vs Aston Villa created an iconic memory for many 😮
İlkay Gündoğan relives the moment he won Man City the Premier League 🏆 pic.twitter.com/we9aumqr96
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 12, 2023
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Did Almiron respond to Grealish?
Almiron was asked about the incident shortly after, with the Paraguayan international dismissing any speculation of him being irritated by Grealish’s comments, as he brushed off the video.
“I didn’t pay a lot of attention, I was on holiday with my family [in the Maldives],” he told an interview with the Daily Mail.
“And I didn’t have a mobile phone signal! So no, I didn’t watch the video. I wasn’t bothered!
“Jack’s a great player and I will always wish him all the best. He’s at City for good reason. I avoid making any comparisons. It’s about me focusing on what I do. It’s no big deal.”
Did Grealish apologise to Almiron?
Following a backlash over his antics, Grealish opted to apologise for his ill-advised remarks while away on World Cup duty with England at the end of 2022.
“I haven’t actually been asked about that and let me just address it,” Grealish said.
“I do some f*****g stupid stuff sometimes that I regret. It was the day after the season finished and obviously I’d had a few drinks. Then I remember I was in Ibiza and it (the video) had obviously come out.
“I’m actually buzzing at the way he’s reacted. He said something about me in an interview the other day, and wished me the best.
“I thought, ‘What a guy’ because if somebody had said that about me, I’d have probably been the other way.
“I messaged Matt Targett because I’m close with him from my time at Villa and I said to him, ‘Can you message him for me and say that I apologise’.
“I thought the video was private. But even in private, I shouldn’t have said it, because he’s a fellow professional.”
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Grealish vs Almiron: Who is better?
Grealish’s apology has reduced the tension over the incident, but Newcastle fans are still irked by his comments, with Almiron’s 2022/23 form leading some supporters to claim the Paraguayan has performed better than City’s £100m man.
Based on the overall statistics, Grealish is ahead of the former Atlanta United star, but the England international is now into his sixth full season as a Premier League player, compared to Almiron’s three-and-a-half campaigns in England.
Grealish vs Almiron Premier League stats (2014-2023)
|Jack Grealish||Miguel Almiron|
Social media reactions to Grealish vs Almiron feud
The battle lines have been drawn on social media, in Grealish vs. Almiron, with fans having some real fun with it.
Almiron: “What’s the note say?”
“Jack Grealish was right.” #MUNNEW #CarabaoCupFinal pic.twitter.com/dnJVDum5iK
— Mark (@MarkC719) February 27, 2023
Almiron v Grealish#NUFC pic.twitter.com/I5sO7B2R3D
— Geordie Joe (@GJ_1892) August 20, 2022
Grealish finding out Almiron has scored again
— Theo (@Thogden) December 26, 2022