If you’ve been an avid follower of Sport Witness over the past year or so and you’re a Middlesbrough fan, you’ll know we really like Julien de Start.

The Boro youngster, currently on loan at Zulte Waregem in Belgium to get more first-team football under his belt, never holds back in interviews, and it always gives us great material to cover and relay back to you.

Playing Nice in what will be the Belgian side’s last game in the Europa League this season, knocked out in the group stages, De Sart ended up with Mario Balotelli in front of him for a lot of the game, which will be an experience he’ll never forget.

He told RTBF: “He remains a special player. On the pitch, he knows how to use his status: when you touch him, he insults the referee in Italian. It allows me to learn a few words for my future transfer to Serie A (laughs). 

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“Also, you can smell him coming… literally: last night, like in the first leg, he put on so much cologne, you were breathing it in from five meters away.”

While he might have been joking, it wouldn’t be surprising if the 22-year-old Middlesbrough owned player was eyeing up a potential move to Italy down the line.

After all, a few of the Middlesbrough loanee’s compatriots are doing quite well over there, like Jordan Lukaku and Dries Mertens, as well as Stephane Omeonga, Samuel Bastien and Senna Miangue, who currently plays with his brother, Alexis, for Belgium’s U21s.

And what did Shakespeare once write? “In jest, there is truth”?