Mario Balotelli dominates the back pages on Thursday morning but, once again, the Liverpool striker has hit headlines for the wrong reasons after coming under fire for swapping shirts at half-time during the defeat to Real Madrid.
Balotelli, perhaps aware that he was about to be substituted, exchanged shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe as the two went down the tunnel at Anfield, hardly a gesture Liverpool fans wanted to see with their team 3-0 down.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expressed his displeasure at the end of what was another disappointing night for his side this season, and has indicated the Balotelli will be disciplined by the club.
“It’s not something I like,” he said. “We had an incident last year with a player that was dealt with internally.
“It’s not something that I stand for. If you want to do that, you do it at the end of the game. I will deal with it tomorrow.”
The incident from last term that Rodgers refers to involved Mamadou Sakho, who swapped shirts with Samuel Eto’o at half-time against Chelsea, but the Balotelli example has caused a significantly greater furore.
This outrage is highlighted by the response from the Liverpool Echo, who have a headline on their back page urging the Italian to apologise to supporters for showing such an “alarming lack of professionalism”.
The Echo goes on to claim this is not the first time Balotelli has ‘embarrassed’ Liverpool in his short spell with the club, having failed to acknowledge fans, at the request of the manager, following the loss to Basel in their previous Champions League fixture.
Over to you, Mario.