English Premiership

Balotelli won't disrupt Reds

2014-08-22 20:53
Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted on Friday that no player would be allowed to disturb the "fantastic environment" at Anfield as the Reds appeared to close in on signing controversial striker Mario Balotelli.

Reports in several British newspapers said the 24-year-old Italy international would have to agree to Liverpool's code of conduct if his proposed £16 million transfer from AC Milan is to be completed, with the clubs having already agreed the fee.

Rodgers, speaking at a scheduled press conference ahead of Monday's trip to Manchester City -- the team that just beat Liverpool to the Premier League title last season -- was coy when asked about the supposedly imminent arrival of Balotelli, whom Sky Sports subsequently reported was at the club's training ground.

"I can categorically tell you that I can't speak about it until the player is signed," he said.

Nevertheless, the Northern Irishman did make clear the standards of behaviour he expected from all his players -- without exception.

"We have quite an extensive code of conduct for players and staff -- there is no specific one for any one individual," he said.

"We have a fantastic environment here and a great culture, and I think it is something that was very important for us to create and build here.

"There will be nothing that will ever shake that or provoke it in any way. It is something I always protect at the club."

Balotelli's two and a half years with Manchester City prior to returning to Italy were overshadowed by his off-pitch antics, which included car crashes, setting fireworks off in his bathroom and an incident in which he threw a dart at a youth-team player.

He was regularly at loggerheads with then City boss Roberto Mancini and clashed with some team-mates while producing intermittent flashes of his undoubted star quality.

Signing Balotelli would be consistent with Liverpool's aim to land a top quality replacement for Luis Suarez following the Uruguayan's World Cup biting disgrace and subsequent departure for Barcelona.

During Liverpool's tour of the United States earlier this month, Rodgers appeared to close the door on a move for Balotelli by saying: "I can categorically tell you that he will not be coming to Liverpool."

But with the transfer window shutting at the end of the month, it seems Rodgers has changed his mind as a result of both the relative attractiveness of Balotelli's transfer fee and the club's apparent failure sign Monaco's Radamel Falcao as their first-choice replacement for Suarez.

There is a belief Rodgers can do with Balotelli what he managed with the volatile Suarez, who caused the Reds boss several problems in biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic after a previous incident also saw him banned for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Suarez then tried to engineer a move to Arsenal but Rodgers refused to buckle and the striker responded by scoring 31 goals for Liverpool.

Suarez eventually left for Barcelona in a £75 million move following his four-month ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup in Brazil.

Balotelli scored 16 goals for Milan last season, as well as the winner in Italy's World Cup opener against England in Manaus.

And a return to England could suit him.

As the most prominent black player in Italy, and the first to represent the country at a major tournament, he has had to endure regular racist abuse of a kind which is now rare in English stadiums.

Balotelli won the FA Cup and Premier League in his last spell in England with City before leaving for Milan in January 2013.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.