Another week, another attack on Jürgen Klopp by volatile super agent Mino Raiola, who has now gone after the Liverpool manager on three occasions since the transfer window closed at the start of the month with his client, Mario Balotelli, heading to Nice on a free transfer after two years of toil on the Liverpool books.
Not content with telling the world he thinks Klopp acted like a “piece of shit” in his dealings with the 26-year-old Italian striker and then move on once or even twice, Raiola has returned to clarify just exactly what it is he means and why he’s mad. By adding the Klopp didn’t treat Balotelli like “a human being.” Well. Okay.
“Mario and Jürgen Klopp never had a chance because Klopp never gave him a chance,” Raiola ranted to the Daily Mail today. “I said Klopp acted like a piece of shit towards him and he can’t deny he made Mario an outcast. I had experience with Klopp at Dortmund. He can’t tell people he treated Mario like a human being.”
That experience at Dortmund included some sour feelings around another Raiola client, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Some Liverpool fans seemed surprised when Liverpool were nowhere near his transfer this summer, which eventually saw him ending up at Manchester United. Given Raiola’s involvement, they shouldn’t have been.
“If you want to sell him it’s up to you but he is still a Liverpool player and show him respect,” Raiola added. “He needed 90 minutes in friendlies but he trained outside the first team. What did he do wrong in the last two years? Mario said he made a mistake joining Liverpool. I’m not sure Brendan Rodgers really wanted him.”
Of course, Klopp was trying to prepare his squad for the season, and that and not Balotelli’s fitness was his main priority. If the player wasn’t going to be part of his plans going forward, giving him 90 minutes at the expense of players like Danny Ings and Divock Origi would have been the height of foolishness.
Klopp was also focused on getting Roberto Firmino up to speed as a striker option for the 2016-17 season, which was a further obstacle to giving Balotelli the chance Raiola thinks he automatically deserved. Sure, it would have been nice to get the striker some minutes. But they would have come at someone else’s expense.
Far better, then, that Raiola is angry at Klopp and calling him a piece of shit than that he’s happy with him having given his client minutes at the expense of players in Liverpool’s future plans and their preparations for the current season. Balotelli, for his part, handled his departure well. His agent continues to embarrass himself.