Sinisa Mihajlovic has suggested Mario Balotelli may never set foot on the field for AC Milan again after his effortless performance against Genoa enraged the manager.
The San Siro outfit seemed to be heading towards a comfortable victory when Balotelli emerged from the bench with just two minutes left on the clock. Goals from Carlos Bacca and Keisuke Honda had given AC Milan a 2-0 lead, but Genoa clawed back a goal and almost claimed an unlikely point in stoppage time.
Eventually, the game finished 2-1 but Mihajlovic felt like a defeated man. He found it unacceptable that his team did not seal what should have been an easy three points and appeared to place the majority of the blame on Balotelli.
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Indeed, Mihajlovic was even seen entering the field of play to berate the on-loan Liverpool striker, who appeared to put in next to no effort during a brief cameo appearance. It led Mihajlovic to say some pretty strong things in the post-match press conference.
"We had to win and we did it. It was a good performance and we hardly ever ran risks," Mihajlovic told Mediaset Premium, according to Sky Sports.
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"We should've scored a third goal and not risked at the end. It is also my fault, as those who don't sacrifice themselves for the team to the 94th minute will no longer set foot on the field. It wasn't just Balotelli, there were another two or three as well as him, they know who I'm talking about."
Having failed to make any noticeable impact at Liverpool last season, many had hoped that Balotelli could get his career back on track at his former club. However, it has gone anything but his way this season with bad form and serious injury both hampering his progress.
He has made just 11 appearances this season and scored twice and has twice had to deal with reports that his loan deal would be cut short. If and when he does return to Anfield, he is unlikely to find sanctuary under the new Jurgen Klopp regime.
The German can only work with players willing to run for the full 90 minutes and, on the evidence of last weekend, it seems Balotelli is unwilling to run for even two. What seems certain is that AC Milan will not be taking up their option to make the deal permanent, leaving Liverpool with the unenviable task of finding a buyer.
They will not get anywhere near the £16m they paid for him in 2014 and may have to settle for less than half of that just to get him off of the books.