Balotelli’s outrageous Melwood antics revealed – Why Rodgers gave up on him finally explained

This time last year, Liverpool were in turmoil. Luis Suarez had gone, following his latest moment of shame at the World Cup, our number one transfer target – Alexis Sanchez – had chosen Arsenal (via Daily Mirror), and Brendan Rodgers was desperately attempting to find an alternative with just days until the start of the new season.

Enter Mario Balotelli. A talented player with an undetermined amount of baggage. Rodgers backed himself to transform the bad-boy forward into the player that Liverpool needed and rolled the dice by paying AC Milan £16m for his services.

It was a gamble. In hindsight, if you’re trying to place clauses in a player’s contract relating to their off the field behaviour – as was rumoured at the time (via The Guardian) – then perhaps you should be looking elsewhere. But we were desperate, and Liverpool fans were quietly hopeful after the player’s promising debut against Tottenham.

Sadly, it was all downhill from there. The Italian – once the vanquisher of England at the World Cup, the star performer of Euro 2012, and the sweetheart of Manchester City’s revolution from mid-table scrappers to Premier League champions – just wasn’t the right fit on Merseyside.

Arguably, Rodgers was never keen on Balotelli – as The Guardian report suggests – but his actions behind the scenes over the course of the following months removed any element of doubt.

This week, The Independent have revealed the string of events that led to the player falling out of favour and, eventually, being banished from the first-team picture all together – made to train with the reserves as he looks for a move away from the club (via The Independent).

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According to the report…

Balotelli was first threatened with banishment to the changing rooms in March, during the week after Liverpool’s home defeat to Manchester United. The striker, who was supposed to be among those listening to a team-talk from assistant manager Colin Pascoe, was instead distracted by an injured Jon Flanagan 40-yards away – walking across the training complex – and began to shout at him for ‘no apparent reason’.

That same afternoon, Balotelli scored a brilliant training ground goal from the halfway line. Unfortunately, he did so at the wrong end. Seemingly unimpressed with being included in the ‘lesser’ team for a 10 on 10 match, made up of likely substitutes and youth academy players, the striker lashed his long-range shot past a stunned Brad Jones in his own goal. His teammates were stunned in to silence, while Balotelli chuckled away by himself in the centre circle.

He was also criticised for his pre-match preparation. The night before a crucial Champions League clash against Basel in Switzerland, Mario was out with friends, and the Reds would go on to lose the match 1-0.

By Christmas, Balotelli has been banned from driving, after being caught speeding at 109mph on the M62. While at Melwood, it was claimed that he still didn’t know the names of some of his team-mate, including regulars who he’d played alongside many times. Apparently, rather than eat with the rest of his teammates at Melwood, he organised for his lunch and dinner to be delivered to his Formby mansion – where he would sit with friends.

His relationship with former Inter Milan youth player Desmond N’Ze was also criticised. Balotelli regularly invited the player to our Melwood training base, until N’Ze was told that he wasn’t welcome. When this became the case, he was regularly pictured sleeping in the passenger seat of Balotelli’s Ferrari – waiting for him to finish training.

All this and more means that the player has no future at Anfield, as The Independent makes clear. The player knows this. However, with a substantial pay packet still coming in, he’s unlikely to force a move. He’s already turned down moves back to Italy (via Daily Express) and to the Middle East (via Daily Mirror), and it looks unlikely that he’d be tempted into anything other than a move to a side at least on the same level as ourselves.

Unfortunately, the painful truth is, who on earth would take that chance again…

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Source: EOTK