Get your pen and paper ready, it’s time to add another bizarre incident to our ever-growing list of Mario Balotelli misdemeanours – with the Liverpool Echo uncovering this unsavoury incident following the player’s move to AC Milan.
According to their report, written by trusted James Pearce, the 25-year-old was so jealous of a teammate’s new iPhone 6 that he decided to feign an injury in order to ensure that he was the next in line to purchase the product.
Within minutes of starting the training ground warm-up that day, the Italian had pulled up, complaining about a tight hamstring. Staff naturally sent him back inside to be checked over by the medics.
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Incredulously, when the rest of the squad returned to the changing room more than an hour and a half later, they found Balotelli sat in the corner with his new phone – along with a handful of spares stacked up next to him.
The report believes that the player had sent out one or more of his ‘minions’ to do some shopping. It was something that epitomised his poor attitude and lack of motivation on Merseyside, where he never seemed likely to succeed.
Indeed, Jamie Carragher has since described Balotelli as a “major mistake”, in quotes taken by the Daily Mirror.
“The Balotelli one was a major mistake from the whole club, not just Brendan Rodgers but the transfer committee in bringing him in,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football.
“The quicker he is moved on (the better). They have Benteke and Sturridge coming back. I still can’t believe that they signed him. He hasn’t worked out and he has to move on. He is kidding some coaches if he gets a move to AC Milan.”
Balotelli did enjoy a measure of success during his last spell at the San Siro, scoring 30 goals in 54 appearances, but he found the net just four times during his single season at Anfield – with only one of those coming in the Premier League.
The story from Pearce also makes another shocking claim – that despite playing alongside him and sharing a dressing room with him – Balotelli pretended not to know Joe Allen was around Christmas time. Even the Welshman’s biggest detractors will agree this is totally out of order and damaging for team morale.
Pearce goes on to say that Balotelli never stayed behind or showed any enthusiasm for extra training ground work, and that his entourage eventually had to be banned from Melwood.