MARIO Balotelli then. Bit out of left field, wasn’t it? What with the categorical denial of interest 18 days ago and all that. And it appears, to say the least, to have divided opinion among Reds. After missing out on Alexis Sanchez, the collapse of the Loic Remy deal, Wilfried Bony and Swansea wanting too much money and Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and Karim Benzema showing no interest in coming to Anfield, attention has turned to the former Man City striker. The AC Milan player – who has won the Premier League, Serie A four times and the Champions League – looks a snip at the reported £16m but he’s clearly had his problems and was once branded “unmanageable” by Jose Mourinho. He scored 30 in 80 for City, but was sent off four times. At AC, his record reads 30 goals in 54 games (10 of them penalties). At 24, has the time arrived for him to mature and show the world what he is really about? Are Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers the club and the manager to finally get the best of Balotelli? We asked two regular Anfield Wrap contributors to argue why we should – and shouldn’t – sign the Italian striker.
YES, WE SHOULD SIGN MARIO BALOTELLI – SAYS PHIL BLUNDELL
IF you’re on board with Mario Balotelli, you don’t really need to read this. Mainly because you’re right about him. He’s great. It will be fun, and he’s actually pretty good at football.
“He does loads of mad things and he’s really disruptive.” Yeah, and what? We’ve just sold someone who picked up the best part of a season’s worth of suspensions for deciding to bite people so you can keep the madness line – it’s daft. What was the last mad thing he did? You don’t actually remember do you? And you know what, so what? I’d have a fight with Roberto Mancini as well because he’s a bit of a d***head if truth be told.
Loads of the stuff that Balotelli is (in)famous for has absolutely no bearing on him actually being any use to Liverpool on a football pitch, so why does it matter?
The other part of that sentence was ‘He’s disruptive’. The easiest way to realise how utterly irrelevant that is, is to go on his Wikipedia page and check his honours.
He’s that disruptive that he’s 24 years of age and has four League titles and a Champions League medal in his possession. Who is he disrupting exactly? He isn’t Carlos Tevez who just fancied playing golf for six months, so went and played golf.
He gets frustrated from time to time and does something mad. We’ve got a manager who should manage him better than previous, bosses and I’d like to think our dressing room togetherness that is so evident would be really helpful for him. Maybe it won’t be. Maybe Rodgers won’t do better with him. Is it a gamble? Absolutely. But take it from me everyone, he’s a gamble worth taking.
From a football point of view, I honestly really rate him. I think he’s got the lot, he’s physically fantastic, technically brilliant, and boy can he finish. I defy anyone to go back and watch the Germany Italy semi final from Euro 2012 and try and form a logical football argument as to how on earth anyone has decided that the centre forward who should score both goals and send Italy to the final, and was so obviously brilliant, can move clubs for £4m more than Shane Long.
You simply cannot. And that is the reason why this is a brilliant transfer.
It’s a risk, of course. Every transfer is a gamble, particularly Balotelli – there’s no argument that it isn’t. But with talent like that it would be negligent to just let him pass. Even if you think he’s bad news, surely there is a part of you that thinks we simply have to have a look. £16m in this day and age isn’t much money. Go and look where he’ll fit in around other players who’ve moved clubs this summer in terms of cost. Some of them aren’t fit to clean his bots.
Oh, and ignore anything anyone has said about AC Milan. He scored a goal and got congratulated by Sulley Muntari – they were atrocious and are an absolute mess of a football club.
One final reason? This is a statement. He’s a big-name player, a player that you can hang your hat on.
While I’m happy with what we’ve done business-wise this summer and think we’re maybe another goalkeeper away from having got everything we need, there still isn’t a signing that gets people talking, that excites; a signing that makes the world sit up and take notice.
I was of the opinion that our business this summer was about stability, and next summer we can go out, buy two or three top-class players, good season assumed, and really kick on as a force. This further enables that. He’s a big player. He’s high profile.
Don’t like him? Fine. Don’t rate him? Fine. We aren’t going to be worse off by signing him. The potential upside is far, far greater than any downside.
NO, WE SHOULDN’T SIGN MARIO BALOTELLI – SAYS NEIL SCOTT
First things first, Mario Balotelli is not mental. He’s not mad, he’s not crazy and he’s not a nutter. Neither was Luis Suarez, for that matter. Throwing around such heavily loaded terms is neither helpful nor empathetic. It just serves as a means to avoid addressing the cause of individual actions and reinforces a stigmatising culture. You become quite sensitive to these things when your wife manages a mental health charity.
Yet, as news of Balotelli’s move to Liverpool spreads like wildfire, it seems that this, this proclivity for behavioural quirks, is the thing people are most enraptured by. Balotelli the Madman. Balotelli the Headcase. Go on Mario, do something outrageous. Go on.
The response to the signing has been overwhelmingly positive. He’ll be a right laugh. He’ll wear stupid hats and talk to ducks and build a castle and everything. He’ll ride down Church Street on a unicycle with his top off. Ace.
Obviously, anyone going against the accepted narrative is a joyless, self-loathing enemy of fun. Someone with no soul, someone who hates football and who probably lives in a shed.
Not for the first time, I am that man and I’ve come to p*ss in your Shreddies.
I have concerns about the whole thing. Massive, skyscraper-sized concerns. Concerns so vast they are probably visible from space.
For starters, you don’t just sign Mario Balotelli. You sign the Cult of Mario. You sign everything that goes with him; the tantrums, the sulks, the fireworks in the bathroom, the trampoline, the Lamborghinis and Ferraris, the stamping on opponents, the bib wrestling, the red cards, the club fines. Baggage. More baggage than Mariah Carey takes on a weekend break to Skegness.
It’s naivety bordering on denial to presume that we’ll be able to control him, to manage his behavioural issues. Inter have tried. City have tried. AC Milan have tried. It’s not happening. If Steve Peters thought Suarez was a challenge, he’s seen nothing yet.
Talking of Suarez, we became conditioned to accept the unpredictable last season. It was our modus operandi. On the whole, it worked in our favour. But it’s not sustainable. It’s not something you can build a foundation on, nor adopt as a model for success. To quote Bill Shankly: “They said we were predictable. Well, I think anybody who is unpredictable is a waste of time.” Are you saying Shankly was wrong? I’m not. Ever.
It’s noticeable that, for all the euphoria and the anticipation of japes a-plenty, not too many people have mentioned the actual football. What Balotelli can bring to the team. His strengths and flaws. I find that odd. It’s as if the only thing that matters is the LOL-quotient, that it’s enough to be ‘a bit of a character’ and everything else will fall into place.
I’ve never been convinced by Balotelli the footballer. At City he was wildly inconsistent, veering between moments of genuine class and jaw-dropping inadequacy. At turns uninterested, isolated, incisive, temperamental, threatening, wasteful, frustrating. Get him on the ball in the opposition penalty box and he could be devastating. Too often he remained sidelined, unable to grasp exactly what was required of him, with a tendency for making absolutely the worst decision at any given time.
In many ways, he is the antithesis of Suarez, the player he has been brought in to nominally replace. Think of the Uruguayan’s work-rate, his team ethic and his fierce will-to-win. All traits that have never been associated with Balotelli. Rightly or wrongly, Suarez was excused his faults (and he had plenty) because when he was on the pitch he could do things that no-one else could dream of and he would sweat blood for the cause. That’s why Barcelona were prepared to pay £75 million for him. Because in football, ultimately all that matters is winning football matches. Suarez gives you a better chance of doing that. Does Balotelli? I’m not sure.
He’s been at three big clubs now. None have been too sorry to see him leave. He wouldn’t be available for a fee of £16 million if Milan were desperate to keep hold of him. I understand the ‘restoring damaged goods’ argument, the belief that Brendan Rodgers can take players who have failed to fulfil their potential and coax the maximum out of them. He did it with Sturridge, and with Coutinho. And I think Rodgers has enough belief in his methods to feel he can work the same trick with Balotelli. But it’s a huge gamble.
The question is, how does he fit in to Rodgers’ vision? Not long ago, the thinking was that Daniel Sturridge would now ascend to the position of attacking focal point, the main man, the arrowhead, supplemented by a supporting cast of fleet-footed accomplices. It was felt that the Suarez – Sturridge partnership was an unnatural one, a consequence of personnel rather than design. But does the acquisition of Balotelli not commit you to a two man front-line once again? As it happens, I’m a big fan of playing with two strikers, so that, if nothing else, I can get behind. You have to wonder, though, how this affects Sturridge and how a player who is the very definition of ‘an individual’ will be incorporated within the team aesthetic.
Look, I could go on all day like this. I’d say why I think he might well turn out to be a liability. You’d show me a picture of him skateboarding with a wok on his head. I’d say we’ll be lucky to get two seasons out of him. You’d show me a clip of him lashing one home from 30 yards then standing impassive, awaiting the acclaim. We go round in circles, we get nowhere.
Ultimately, I don’t think he’s a bad lad. He endured a troubled start in life and has stood up to the most appalling racism. His behavioural issues are complex and deep-rooted. But it goes without saying that if he does well, and if Liverpool do well, everyone will be happy. Even me.
I see Mario Balotelli as a vulnerable manchild prone to acts of unspeakable stupidity. I also see him as a footballer with multiple defects, but with a definite spark of something that could, could, elevate him to greatness.
It’s in his hands now.
One thing though. He doesn’t need egging on. He doesn’t need to have people hanging on his every ill-advised action, eager for more. He doesn’t need to live up to a reputation that, at every step, undermines his latent ability.
This could be his last chance. He’d be an idiot to waste it.
Mario. Don’t be an idiot. Not again.
Pics: David Rawcliffe
[rpfc_recent_posts_from_category category=”1″ meta=”true”]
As much as I agree with nearly all of what Phil says, Neil’s last point is the most important of all. We really don’t want to egg him on. We want to leave him in no doubt that the “antics” aren’t what the fans want – it’s goals & assists. I think he can do it, and despite being blamed for every shortcoming he does try hard when he plays for Italy so it’s not beyond him. As long as we have enough quality to bring on if he’s having a stinker (and I think we will) we’ll be ok.
And just allow yourselves to dream about how good it would be to see him bang a hat trick at Stamford Bridge past the guy who called him unmanageable to claim his 5th league winners medal?
Every word of this.
I have a funny feeling this is going to work out fine for us, and for him too. Even if he does prove to be every bit the handful people are expecting him to be, he only has to hold it together long enough for us to finish one place higher than we did last season. If he helps us do that, then he can go off the reservation as much as he likes as far as I’m concerned.
I think he’s a great player, and he’ll bring us joy. This current team is bonkers in terms of it’s changeability mid game, I feel like he’ll suit that. He’s also a big game player, maybe not consistently….but to address the issues of his inconsistency and his attitude problems: The lad is 24. NOW. He’s only 24 now!! Which means he’s been a teenage league winning Black Italian millionaire all this time. He’ll come right under the proper guidance. Whether that’s with us or not is up in the air. Wouldn’t you prefer it be with us though?
Excellent article. I think he has the ability to be one the best strikers in the world if he can solely concentrate on his football. Now is the time for him to mature. He has all the attributes (pace, finishing, skill, strength, control and shot power) to lead the line with devastating affect.
Brilliant! The season has taken on a delicious new life – how can this be a nagative? – as long as BR can keep the lad motivated we’re off. For $16 mill who cares – but if the rehabilitation of MB equals that’s of LS , well ANYTHING is possible, on the day that UTD buy their second left sided defender of the season, how can anybody even think that this is bad business…
£25m+ of wages too. won’t be easy to unload if he’s a grenade. who would take him? we’d have to pay him off mostly.
I don’t think 16 million is a bargain at all. Some weeks we’ll see 40 million type performances. Some weeks we’ll see 5 million type performances. Or worse. You just don’t know what you’re gonna get with this lad, and I wouldn’t want to be having to put my faith in him when it matters. And there will be moments this season when it will matter, a lot.
I’ll give him a chance, but I’m not expecting much of a return for our money in all honesty.
Pure drivel from Neil. All that waffle having never worked with the man, and the assumption Neil believes he knows more about it all than the fucking manager is ridiculous. You’re basically claiming Rodgers doesn’t know what he’s doing.
As seems to be the agenda on TAW this summer. It makes me sad :(
Anyone think this isn’t a Brendan Rodgers signing but more of a Transfer Committee Overruling Brendan Rodgers signing?
Let’s face it, the managers number one go-to attribute he looks for when signing a player is mentality. He has said it almost ad nauseam since he became the boss. And then he references today in his press conference how difficult the market is to get the right player etc.
Something tells me Brendan isnt that made up about Mario coming into Melwood where he has worked so hard to create a work ethic and togetherness that could about to be blown to bits.
I Think Brendan is on board with signing Mario, his comments before Milan game on US Tour, were basically an invitation, if you can get your act right you will be welcome at this football club as your a great player.
When He visits Dr Steve He can name his Chimp Luigi.
We know he can Hack Premier League, no guarantee on any transfer, Markovic 20M, Lallana 25M can he handle weight of the shirt?
Definitely worth the risk.
or that BR’s just realistic. He knows what he’s getting but had no choice if this season was to be a success.
I may well be wrong, but after saying he wasnt going to come to liverpool at all, and with all the rumours surrounding falcao/cavani, perhaps Balo was seen as a 3rd choice and deals for the first two never materialised/fell through? For £16 you just hope that he puts in performances like euro 2008 or the 6-1 vs united more consistently. BR is always going on about the attitude of the changing room and not bringing anyone to disrupt that, clearly the scouting team has made a judgement on balo and decided that its worth the risk. If any manager (and fan base) can deal with a player with serious on/off field issues its BR and liverpool, I just hope the gamble pays off, hes got the potential to be very special
We don’t pay players 300k a week and we dont pay 45 million for a 26/7 year old because of resale value. What we do is take talented players with supposed baggage or that have struggled, in equal measure and get the best out of them.
Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez have all prospered, no reason why Mario can’t. The older I get and the more I think about it we are a mad club and as fans we like eccentric and we have a history of getting the best from these players. When Bob Paisley replaced Ray Clemence he did not go for a calm steady keeper. He plucked out Brucie from Vancouver whitecaps.
Lawrenson tells the story of his first training session for the then European champions culminating in Souness decking another player.
So Mario is going to be difficult, compaired to whom? Souness, Case, Brucie, Nichol, God, Suarez? Most good players are challenging its part of them being what they are. Ian Botham and Freddie Flintoff are England’s best all rounders, but as John Arlott remarked on Botham, you can’t expect explosions of greatness on the pitch without some of it erupting off it.
Without Suarez we lost that X factor, we have a better squad now and with Mario on board he will take all the heat off from the other £20 mil + players and if I were any of the other top 5 clubs I would be much happier if LFC had not bought super Mario and that is always a good starting point
This. All of this. Well said, mate.
£16 is a real snip Tim I must say
Neil is right. Phil is right.
Neil’s assessment of some of the attitudes that might enable Balo, to engage in aberrant behaviours, are potentially damaging and will only add an element of buffoonery to player and club. That is worrisome.
Where I disagree with Neil is with Balo’s rating. I believe he is a good player with the potential for greatness. And the thing that prevents him from greatness is himself, his attitude. It is arguable that he plays most poorly when his head isn’t in it, and for me, this has always been fairly evident. I would argue that he has not yet played for a gifted, dare I say competent, man manager. Consider it for a moment. Mourinho nor Mancinci are strong in that arena. That is where Rodgers comes in. If anyone can get Balo to realise his potential, it is him. He has already demonstrated this. Time and again. And beyond this, there is the element of the team itself. The shared belief, the dressing room environment. The unity. These are the factors that can further fuel a player’s desire, that can in a short time, make him surge with proper temperament and confidence.
In some ways, it might even prove better business than Falcao or Cavani. Falcao, as much a fan of him as I am, is 28, is returning from a serious injury, and is still valuated at around 50 million. Such a transfer could prove just as risky for obviously different reasons. As for Cavani, I think he is rated a bit too highly. And that isn’t even taking into account his wage demands. Balotelli has the potential to be as good, if not better, than either of them.
At sixteen million, he’s well worth the risk. Given all of the variables, it just might work.
Say what you want about Mourinho but you can never accuse of him of not being a good man manager. Never. Mancini? Yes, fair enough.
But it’s a ridiculous assertion that a man who continuously gets £30m-£50m attacking, gifted, egocentric players to buy in to his defensive ideology and work incredibly hard for the team is not good at man management. Its one of his key strengths.
You do not get the bond he had with players at Porto, Chelsea and Inter without quality inter personal skills. Many players at Inter broke their hearts hours after winning the Champions League (and thus completing the treble, a feat a manager does not achieve without having man management ability) because he told them he was off to Madrid.
We’ve all seen the video with Mourinho telling the story about Balo. All other strikers injured, crucial champions league game, 0-0, booked right before half time. Mourinho spends vast majority of half time team talk telling him to avoid all confrontation. Gave him a license not to tackle. Gets second yellow in 46th minute.
That type of thing is unforgivable really.
The price is ok as if we want rid in a year or two we’re extremely unlikely to take a big hit, but then again we’re paying him £118,000 a week. Man City bought him for £17.4m 4 years ago. The fact his price tag has gone down at only 24 years of age tells you a lot.
Some people are behaving like he’s world class but does something daft every now and again. Wrong. He’s not. And his antics bring with him a circus we could do without at this stage (or any stage to be honest) of our development.
He’s been consistently inconsistent throughout his career, displaying flashes of brilliance in games he’s anonymous in and goes no more than a 3/4 game streak where he’s top class, before going back to being incredibly average. His work rate by and large has been appalling, even in Champions League semi finals against a Barcelona team at their peak and with claims to be the greatest club side ever. If a quality man manager like Mourinho, on the verge of achieving something remarkable, at a massive club like Inter, in the latter stages of the Champions League, against superior opposition, can’t get him to wind his neck in, why would we think we or Brendan are any different in a million various, much less important situations, such as an away league game at Stoke?
Can we get real here for a minute?
The worrying thing for me is Im almost 100% sure the boss agrees with me and this is not his signing.
the only thing is he was just 19 at the time. 20 at Citeh. He’s now 24 and has a steady partner (it seems).
So we have to see how much he has grown – cos it’s he himself not BR that will make him a success.
The problem is his numbers are not that great, just flashes of brilliance. That’s not really what we thrive on. We have thrived on consistency of performances. And what if he can’t be arsed in training? Not to speak of being riled on the pitch and getting red cards.
Massive gamble. Will age make up for what you point out? I’m already on the edge of my seat!
Not a BR signing: Sure that’s possible. This may possess some element of ‘money ball’ with FSG taking the numbers angle. Still, if BR is up for it, it just might work.
don’t believe Mourinho at his word, he likes to tell good story though not accurate ones…. Yes Mario did get sent off in the second half but at minute 60 for a follow through foul. His 1st card was in minute 20 for “unsporting behavior” whatever that means…
You’d show me a picture of him skateboarding with a wok on his head. I’d say we’ll be lucky to get two seasons out of him. You’d show me a clip of him lashing one home from 30 yards then standing impassive, awaiting the acclaim. We go round in circles, we get nowhere
Brilliant. all you needed to say.
To me, his numbers show that he isn't a grade A striker – TLO does a great numbers recap on his very poor conversion rate as similar to when Luis first turned up.
Therefore we're looking at a grade B or grade C striker. The former will do, the latter will not and at £5m / year his wages will make him hard to shift. His old clubs are not going to take him back, so there is a £25m gamble there for the club just on wages cos who would take him next without us forking out 25% of those wages as payoff? Allardyce won't beable to.
Everyone seems to be hoping that BR somehow gets that grade A out of him when even if he hasn't been a madman at AC Milan, Taraabt said "if you think I'm rubbish at training, you should see Balotelli!".
So there maybe problems in training cos he decides he can't be arsed and other players might become bitter that he gets on the bench without the requisite effort that they are having to put in. That could be bad and give Rodgers a headache. Just how much is he capable of growing up? Let's not pretend he's going to lose all those problems. That doesn't happen.
Will he be provoked on the pitch and get red cards? That's the next problem.
On paper this makes no sense whatsoever. But we need a striker. And that was that.
The final thing for me is Rodgers is a lucky manager. Very lucky, from Henderson to Luis to Sturridge to Coutinho, but you make your own luck, and things do seem to go for him even when he says stupid things or tries kamikaze football. Is he going to be "lucky" with Balotelli aswell? Wow, if that happens…..
C'mon Mario. show us that grade B and threaten a grade A. You'll never know fans like it.
It’s mental and deep down we all love it. And better still, it means we don’t sign that walking evidence of mass hysteria, Cavani
Glass half full or half empty ? Mines half full what a prospect, he is chaos and at £4m more than Shane Long a bargain. If BR works his magic we just might have somebody to take our minds off losing Luis. We aren’t a moneybags club we have to take chances and this is a fine piece of business. Bony or Balotelli it’s Mario all the way for me.
Balotelli’s weakness? An aversion to boredom allied with a penchant for restlessness. Only ever happy when things are happening. Decent player but we’ll do well to get one good season out of him.
Balo will be a boss signing. Just what we need to play alongside or for Sturridge. In fact instead of Eto, we should get Ronaldinho for FREE to give us more options in attack. That lad is pure genius with the ball. But Khedira will also be a necessary signing to anchor the midfield bc Lucas is pap and Allen is crap. But the big question nobody has answered is, what if Mignolet gets hurt or drops form??? We are rightly f…k..
Or we could forget what he’s done in the past and wait and see what he does in the future , for us. The “lazy” tag was applied to Sturridge too , as I recall. We know he has talent and we know Brendan and his staff have created an environment for attacking players to excel. The price was right , his wages aren’t our concern. Get behind him and hope for the best.YNWA
£16m? Absolute bargain regardless what happens as you will always have resale value at his age.
One thing – at what point has Brendan not shown he can handle this job and modern players egos? I don’t get the negativity. He turned Suarez from want away player to a minimum top three in the world player.
Balotelli will be a walk in the park for him. Not sure the issue here recently with Brendan but if it was laid out I’d respect it more. All this minimum requirement, formations, partnerships blah blah etc too easy and truth be told a gamble. You not fans and throw enough shit a la tabloids can say look I said this if it doesn’t work out.
I’ll put neck on the line and say Brendan only gone way since he took over and I hope that not going to change. There are alot on here that have to hope he does fail just so they can say see BR is snakeoil! Must be difficult supporting liverpool but still investing in their manager not being up to the job.
We nearly won the league (let’s be honest, genuinely nearly won the league i.e. had it in our grasp). That has not happened since the 90s, the 90s!! Savour it, welcome it but don’t be hoping for BR demise cos you predicted it back in 2012.
Stick together this is our big chance not a time for agendas. Outside winning the premiership what else could the team have done last season – it’s been a long time since we have been tv and neutral darlings. Speaks volumes.
YNWA – we all one, stick together. This is our time.
I can only speak for myself and my circles (but at the same time I do go on social media and read articles on LFC sites) but since this news broke I’ve hardly heard people going on about his madness (until reading your piece that is). Most of the talk I’ve seen has been about what a good morale boost or lift it is, about whether he’s over rated as a player or not, about whether Rodgers can get the best out of him, about whether it’s a risk. Your article concentrates solely on his behaviour and even tries to pre-empt it by fantasising about him wearing woks and skateboarding. Then, the video you choose is only about his ‘other side’. I’ve not seen that one before. I find it sad that Liverpool fans would think like this. Where’s your passion? I’d be gutted if news of this signing caused me to have negative thoughts rather than the excited ones I have. Social media’s got to you. Get back on the footy buzz.
What Robin said.
My drunken ramblings was trying to put that across! I lost use of the English too!
As a Man City fan, I was extremely sorry to see Mario leave. His ‘behaviour’…on and off the pitch… didn’t really come into it. The only reason we sanctioned the move was because he was unsettled and the constant focus of tabloid attention which was affecting his performances. So when the club he supported as a boy came in with a very good offer for him he was tempted and Mancini said he wouldn’t stand in his way. Sheikh Mansour was reluctant to let him go, and especially Mancini himself, because they believed we would eventually unlock his tremendous potential.
You have to remember how young he was when he arrived at City alone…barely out of his teens. He actually signed on his 20th birthday.He had never left Italy before. He was totally immature. It was an alien culture to him and the press never let him alone.
He may have exasperated his team-mates at times and frustrated the manager but he was popular and Mancini said they were all very sad to see him go. He never caused trouble in the dressing room and none of his off the field antics were malicious.
It is a fact that the entire staff at the club tried extremely hard the entire time he was there to make him a member of ‘the family’ so to speak. Fellow players encouraged him to join in their family and social activities…he wasn’t just abandoned ‘after hours’. Mancini was a father figure to him and they were very close. Indeed, Mario came to City in the first place because of this longstanding relationship, though there were times when he had to show some tough love as well. But, perhaps due to his difficult upbringing, the truth is that Mario is a LONER. Towards the end, all manner of people including chaplains, psychologists etc tried to make him integrate more, but he seemed to prefer his isolation.
Brendan Rodgers would do well to take note of the above. He may believe he has some kind of superior ability to get the best out of everyone, but if Mancini couldn’t, then it’s not possible. All this about Liverpool being a family club who will make him feel welcome! We, too, are a family club and he couldn’t have been made more welcome. As I’ve said, the truth is that Mario doesn’t really WANT to be integrated.
He’s 4 years older now. I don’t believe he will cause you a minute’s trouble off the pitch. It’s ON THE PITCH you should be worrying about!!
Mario can do things with a football few players can do. He has amazing technique. Given the right service he will score exceptional goals and free kicks…
BUT, believe me, his work-rate off the ball is virtually non-existent. And this goes against everything BR believes in. He will not work his socks off for you, he will not press, he will not track back, he will hardly ever try to win back the ball. Think Dimitar Berbatov and you get the picture….
This languid, lazy-looking attitude is what, finally, lost him so many fans at Man City. Yes, he can take a brilliant penalty. Yes, he’ll win you a few of them too. He’ll suddenly score a wonderful goal out of next to nothing that can win you a match.
But in all his time at City in the PL, he had just ONE assist….that was THE pass to Aguero which won us the league…..
So, maybe he’ll do the same for you…