Skip to main content

Mario Balotelli signs for Liverpool

updated 2:30 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Mario Balotelli is returning to English football with Liverpool after agreeing a move from AC Milan. Balotelli, who left Manchester City for Italy in January 2013, replaces Luis Suarez at Anfield. Mario Balotelli is returning to English football with Liverpool after agreeing a move from AC Milan. Balotelli, who left Manchester City for Italy in January 2013, replaces Luis Suarez at Anfield.
HIDE CAPTION
'Why always me?'
Super Mario
Magic Mario
Heading back
Social media star
Hitting back
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mario Balotelli joins Liverpool from AC Milan
  • The Italian striker previously played in England with Manchester City
  • Balotelli is famous for his off-field antics
  • He struggled with ill discipline while at Man City, brawling with the team's coach

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Look out Liverpool, Mario Balotelli has arrived.

As famous for his larger than life demeanor as he is for his goalscoring exploits, the mercurial striker has completed his move from AC Milan to the English Premier League club.

Mourinho on the enigma of Balotelli
Balotelli on tattoos, women and food

He joined on a long-term deal, Liverpool said on its website Monday wit the fee reportedly around $26.5 million.

"I'm very happy," Balotelli told the club's official website. "We've been talking about coming here and now I'm happy to be here.

"Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England and the football is very good here.

"It's a great team with young players, and that's why I came here."

The Italian is well known to English football fans after a turbulent two-and-a-half-year stint with Manchester City, where he helped the team to a first league title in 44 years while also gaining a cult following for his off-field antics.

But Balotelli could be just the man Liverpool needs to help spearhead its Premier League and Champions League challenge following the departure of last season's top scorer Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

"Suarez's exit left a hole in the side in terms of his goals but more than that, it also left a hole in terms of Liverpool losing a player idolized by the Kop," Jim Boardman, writer for Anfield Road and The Anfield Wrap websites, told CNN.

"Few players are idolized at Anfield to the same kind of level that Suarez enjoyed but Balottelli is in prime position to take that crown.

"There are question marks about his temperament but Liverpool are signing a 24-year-old established Italian international, a different proposition to the teenager Manchester City courted, the youngster Jose Mourinho said was unmanageable.

"Every signing is a risk but at £16 million in today's market that risk is far smaller than the ones taken a few transfer windows ago when Liverpool paid £35 million for Andy Carroll and Chelsea paid £50 million for Fernando Torres.

"Balotelli will bring joy to Anfield, whether it's more from his natural talent as a comedian or a goalscorer remains to be seen, but the chances are it'll be both."

Myriad myths surround Balotelli's stay in Manchester -- tales of bonfires, darts and a women's prison to name just three -- but his disciplinary issues are indisputable.

In his final days as a City player, he was involved in a training ground brawl with the team's then manager Roberto Mancini.

Balotelli scored 14 goals in 30 league games for Milan last season in a disappointing campaign for the Italian club, which finished eighth and failed to qualify for Europe.

Now the 24-year-old is back in England, having left the country in January 2013 to sign for Milan.

Balotelli will be tasked by filling the sizable hole left at Liverpool by Suarez's departure for Barcelona.

The Uruguayan scored 31 league goals last season as Brendan Rodgers' team finished second in the table. Balotelli found the net 20 times in 54 Premier League games during his time with City.

"This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here," Rodgers told Liverpoolfc.com.

"There is no doubting Mario's ability; he is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level.

"He has scored goals in the Premier League, in Italy, in the Champions League and for his country at international level.

"I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it.

"I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I'm sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome."

According to Jose Mourinho, who coached Balotelli at Inter Milan, "Mario was good fun."

Speaking to CNN in 2012, Mourinho said: "I could write a book of 200 pages of my two years with Mario. The book would not be a drama, it would be a comedy."

Balotelli's sense of humor has never been called into question, while he also indulges his adoring fans.

Recently he posed for a selfie with two supporters who ran onto the pitch during Milan's friendly against his former club City in Pittsburgh.

But his relationship with the sport's fans has also been sorely tested.

A match between Milan and Roma in May 2013 was stopped temporarily after spectators racially abused Balotelli.

He later threatened to walk off the pitch if he was subjected to similar taunts in the future.

Read: Balotelli happy he left England

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT