Mario Balotelli has sealed his return to English football after completing his £16m transfer from Milan to Liverpool. The striker claimed he made a mistake in signing for his boyhood club in Italy and his experience would help the young players in Brendan Rodgers’ team.
Balotelli signed a three-year contract on Monday, subject to registration, having convinced the Liverpool manager of his willingness to accept his training ground demands plus a series of stringent behaviour and performance clauses in the deal. The 24-year-old will earn a basic £80,000 a week with an extra £40,000 based on the clauses and Liverpool also have the option to extend the contract into a fourth season. The Italy international met Rodgers at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground on Friday and returned to Italy having completed his medical on Saturday.
On his return from Milan to sign the deal, Balotelli met his new team-mates in the dressing room at the Etihad Stadium before Liverpool’s Premier League game at his former club Manchester City. He returned to Merseyside on the first-team coach after the game.
Balotelli, who will wear the No45 shirt at Liverpool, trained at Melwood on Monday and is in line to make his debut at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Despite fulfilling a boyhood wish to play for Milan when he returned to Italy from City in January 2013, the striker admitted he erred in going back to Serie A having had a controversial spell at Internazionale. “I’m happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake,” he said. “I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake. English football is generally better. English football is beautiful.”
Asked about the rapturous reception he had received from Liverpool supporters after arriving at Melwood on Friday, Balotelli said: “I didn’t expect it because I’ve always been playing against Liverpool. Whenever I played against Liverpool, the fans weren’t nice with me but that’s normal -it’s football. Now that I play for Liverpool, I can see the expectation in people. They’re very happy and that makes me very happy at the same time.”
Balotelli has been a disruption for most managers in his eventful career but believes he can be a positive influence on the young players at Liverpool. He added: “Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England. The football is very good here. It’s a great team with young players, and that’s why I came here. I maybe have a little bit more experience than other players – if I can help them, I’m happy to help them.” -Guardian of UK