Mario Balotelli was subjected to an unprovoked X-rated tirade from an unidentified man during a routine Liverpool training session, according to the Daily Star.
The controversial striker is no stranger to making headlines for the wrong reasons, but in this case, we think it is fair to say that it is not entirely of his own making.
Balotelli was going through a routine training session with his Liverpool teammates at the Melwood training complex when a non-descript white van pulled up outside a fence. A man emerged from the vehicle, climbed on the roof and started to hurl abuse towards the Italian.
Brendan Rodgers ordered for training to be temporarily halted so the man could be removed from the premises. The report claims that Balotelli was left visibly distressed at the X-rated nature of the tirade directed at him.
The eyewitness account told the newspaper: "Melwood is one of the more traditional training grounds. No high-rise fences and the like.
"Everton fans drive past and beep their horns, but this is off the scale of anything I've ever seen.
"He had a real go and it seemed totally unprovoked."
Few players in world football divide opinion quite like Balotelli. His outlandish behaviour does not excuse the intruder's abuse, but it certainly makes it less surprising that he was at the end of the abuse as opposed to the more reserved Raheem Sterling.
Balotelli is obviously a very talented individual. But at 24-years-old, he is yet to reach the heights his early career suggested he would.
His career at Manchester City derailed after his relationship with Roberto Mancini broke down while AC Milan quickly grew tired with his attitude despite an excellent scoring record.
Liverpool gambled £16 million to sign him in the summer and Balotelli started paying the figure back with goal against Ludogorets. Having stayed focused of football since arriving at Anfield, the World Cup flop could finally be getting to grips with what it means to be a professional footballer.
But with Daniel Sturridge set to return to full fitness, Balotelli will have to improve if he is to challenge the England international for a first team place. He missed a host of chances in the Merseyside derby last weekend but can make up for it on Wednesday when Liverpool take on Basel in the Champions League.
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