Liverpool fans couldn’t be blamed for forgetting Mario Balotelli is still one of their own players.
The enigmatic striker spent the season at AC Milan, with the Italian club having the option to sign him permanently.
However, with the domestic campaign now over, it’s looking more and more likely that Balotelli will return to Anfield this summer.
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The 25-year-old doesn’t appear to have done enough to convince the San Siro club to take the risk on him - and it’s hardly surprising given his one goal in 20 league appearances during his loan spell.
Now, Milan president, Silvio Berlusconi, has revealed that the forward will be leaving Italy when his deal comes to an end.
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"Balotelli's contract with us has expired and there are going to be many players leaving us," Berlusconi told Telelombardia, per ESPN.
"Players like Alex, Mexes, Boateng and Balotelli are all out of contract and there will be others released too.”
Throughout the season, the idea of Balotelli returning to Merseyside looked unlikely.
He was signed by Brendan Rodgers in the summer of 2014 for £16 million but had a very disappointing campaign, scoring once in 16 league matches. He was deemed surplus to requirements by the Northern Irishman at the end of the season and was shipped out on loan to his former club.
Despite the Reds changing manager, it’s highly unlikely that Balotelli will fit into Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy at Anfield upon his return. The German manager likes to press the opposition high up the pitch, meaning the attacking players must work very hard throughout - something that is alien to Balotelli.
Wanted to stay
Throughout the campaign in Italy, Balotelli reiterated his desire to stay with Milan, the club that Liverpool had signed him from.
Last month, he told reporters: "I want to stay with Milan because I was not happy at Liverpool and don't want to go back.”
"I've played well in my last two games and there are six left for me to prove what I can do," he added.
However, it seems as though he didn’t do enough to prove that he was worth the gamble.
But with Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke already at Liverpool, it will be very surprising to see Balotelli in a Liverpool shirt come the start of next season.
Who will be the next club willing the take a chance on the controversial striker in an attempt to save his career?
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