Fabio Borini has played with some brilliant footballers during his career - so it will come as a shock to Liverpool fans to hear the 24-year-old name Mario Balotelli as the best player he’s ever played with.
The Italian striker - who has played alongside the likes of Luis Suarez, Frank Lampard, Francesco Totti, Didier Drogba and, of course, Steven Gerrard over recent years - named the Liverpool flop as the best he’s played with, alongside Andrea Pirlo.
While few eyebrows will be raised on hearing Borini name Pirlo, one of the most technically-gifted midfielders of his generation, it is a surprise to hear Balotelli’s name mentioned given the striker’s dire season at Anfield. We can only assume the former Manchester City star, who is now on loan with AC Milan, was incredible in training.
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Balotelli scored a pitiful total of one Premier League goal in 16 appearances for the Reds last season - not exactly what Brendan Rodgers was hoping for after persuading the Liverpool hierarchy to spend £16 million on the Italy international.
Borini, meanwhile, scored the same number of goals for Liverpool in the Premier League last term and was subsequently sold to Sunderland in August.
Rodgers made Borini and Balotelli train on their own
Perhaps Borini became closer to Balotelli in their days training away from the first-team this summer and witnessed the striker's brilliance up close for himself.
Rodgers, in surprisingly ruthless fashion, made the two Italians train separately from the first-team group - along with Jose Enrique, according to this report from the Guardian in July - ahead of the Reds’ final pre-season matches.
Needless to say, Borini opted against reserving special praise for Rodgers in this question-and-answer session on Sunderland’s official YouTube channel.
Liverpool fans: is Mario Balotelli the worst signing of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Anfield? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!