Andrea Pirlo has suggested that Mario Balotelli has "matured” since his time back in Italy.
This will be music to the ears of Liverpool fans as yesterday it was revealed that the 24-year-old will his complete his shock move to Anfield in a deal worth £16 million in the near future.
Pirlo said: “Mario has matured since he has been back in Italy.
From lighting fireworks in his bathroom to throwing darts at Manchester City youth players, the forward has never been far away from controversy.
“He will be the first to admit when he was younger he made some mistakes,” explained midfield maestro. “But he is not that player anymore.”
There can be no doubt that the young Italian has masses of potential. It’s why Manchester City paid somewhere in the region of £23 million for him in 2010.
Balotelli knew Roberto Mancini - Manchester City’s old boss - from his Inter Milan days and the two had a very close relationship.
His time in Manchester was constantly overshadowed by his numerous acts of petulance and off-field debacles and was eventually off loaded back to Italy when AC Milan signed him in 2013.
Despite all this, in 54 appearances for the Sky Blues Balotelli scored 20 goals; for Milan he netted 26 times in 43 matches.
Those numbers are fairly decent considering the nonchalant approach he takes regarding his football and Brendan Rodgers’s man-management skills could work its wonders.
Andrea Pirlo wants people to forget about his Italy teammate’s behavioural problems and focus and the brilliant talent that he is.
He said: "Anybody who still talks about him in that way is living in the past. I have always said that in the right environment he has the potential to be one of the best strikers in Europe.
“The time has come to write only about what he does on the field.”
Liverpool will be hoping for exactly the same thing.
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