Liverpool continue to have the “best” luck with player’s agents. This time it’s Mario Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, who has taken issue with the way his player was treated by Jürgen Klopp.
After a drawn out transfer window full of tons of speculation, the Italian international finally found a home in Nice on a free transfer. However, in the aftermath, Raiola spoke to Italian newspapers about the perceived slights to Balotelli by the manager in his final summer at Anfield.
"In the end, the higher-ups at Liverpool admitted that Klopp was wrong (to send Balotelli to train with the reserves),” the agent reportedly said.
“I'm not trying to judge him as a coach - although, for me, he's not a good coach - but he didn't understand that Balotelli is, whatever else, a person. Mario has been exemplary. He never complained about training alone. To say that it was wrong of Klopp would be an understatement. He was a piece of s*** about it.”
Klopp had nothing but kind things to say about Balo earlier this year, and he made it clear that while the player had no place at Anfield, Klopp wanted to help him stay fit for him new team.
At the time, he said, “We want Mario to become the player he was before his injury. The talent is still there - no doubt about it.
“I have spoken clearly to the player about that. I know we can’t talk about a lot of things because one agent says ‘we want to stay’, and another says ‘we have had 10 offers so we have to leave’. It’s now time to make decisions and I try to help Mario to get in the best shape he can be in and we will see what happens.”
If Balotelli himself was upset over his treatment, he wisely kept that to himself in the various interviews he’s given throughout the summer.
Regarding his new home in France with Ligue 1, Raiola said, "It's normal to consider him a risk for Nice because he has not met expectations over the last two seasons. From that point of view, it's a gamble, but I'd always take that gamble. If you're lucky, you win the league. If it goes well, you're in the top five. If it goes wrong, oh well.
"Whoever has the TV rights to Ligue 1 should give a bonus to Nice. Without Ibra, this league has lost at least 50 per cent of its value.”
Oh well, indeed. With any luck, Balotelli will rediscover his form in France and do well. In the mean time, it’s doubtful Klopp and Raiola will be missing each other.