The agent of Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has said that the only way his client will be leaving Anfield this month is if someone comes in with a massive bid for the Italian striker – who he likens to “a superstar” in the Reds’ squad.
Mino Raiola said that his client was happy at Anfield but very disappointed with the way things have gone for him on the pitch so far – with just two goals in eighteen appearances for the club, neither of which were Premiership strikes.
“Liverpool are different from other clubs. There, they can’t allow themselves ten players who run and a superstar. Mario is a player who changes a game for you in two or three moments, so they have to adapt to him and him to them.” Raiola said.
“I saw him on Monday and said: “You’ve got a contract and I’m not taking you away. Either you leave Liverpool for €60m or €70m and I win the bet or you die there”. It’s the first time that I’ve had such a conversation with a player. I saw that he was calm, changed, different with respect to at Milan. Very disappointed in himself too.” he explained
“He is going through times he’s never had before. Before everybody wanted him to do well. He had space. At Liverpool, no: either you do as we say or you stay out. Then he was out injured for eight weeks. He lost rhythm.”
Raiola went on to say that he believes Balotelli’s decision to leave Premiership champions Manchester City for AC Milan back in January 2013 was an incorrect one in hindsight and that he should have stayed with them.
“Of all the champions I have represented I have never met one who has been forced to go through the injustices Mario has gone through.” he said.
“People don’t know him. The truth is that Mario is an insecure kid and in his insecurity perhaps he sometimes does silly things.
“I have always wanted to satisfy my players. With others I have gone with my own mind but with him no. “I need my mum, my friends, Italy.” he said. Being a dad and wanting to make him happy I brought him back to Italy from City. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my career.”
“I should have said to him: ‘You’re not going back to Italy. City are a great club. They’ll never let you down. This is the football that counts and you want to leave it’.
“I’m convinced I was wrong for another reason too: Milan needed a leader. Give the ball to Mario, he scores and everyone is happy. But he is not a leader and it was wrong to ask him to be one. There are great players who aren’t leaders, and other not-so-great players who are.” he concluded.
Balotelli has been linked with a return to Serie A with Inter Milan now managed by his former manager and mentor Roberto Mancini. Lazio and Juventus have also been mooted as potential destinations, but Sampdoria have left the bidding by signing Samuel Eto’o while Napoli have signed Manolo Gabbiadini, thus ruling themselves out of the running.