Super Mario is great, he really is. Mario Balotelli wasn't a problematic influence at Liverpool but didn't score goals as he probably wasn't the right fit in terms of style. Like Christian Benteke, Balotelli wasn't in Jürgen Klopp's plans for a potentially pivotal season at Liverpool. All seasons are "potentially pivotal" in truth, but a first full campaign—without the pressures of European football—under Klopp feels particularly important considering the work undertaken last season.
It seems all concerned have got off to a wonderful start this season. Benteke has scored three goals (all headers) in five Premier League games for Crystal Palace, Balotelli is lighting up French football with six goals in five appearances for OGC Nice, and Liverpool are being tipped for a title challenge after a number of exciting performances. It appears that these happy days are everyone's.
However, Balotelli's agent—Mino Raiola—has attacked Klopp not once, not twice, but thrice since the summer transfer window closed. Instead of being pleased that a major client appears restored after successive seasons without success in England and Italy, Raiola launched repeated attacks on Klopp. Balotelli hasn't said much since his move but recently addressed his relationship with Klopp along with his struggles at Liverpool and AC Milan.
"Klopp doesn't know me, I spoke to him once, he told me to go somewhere else, work hard and then return," Balotelli said. "So I said goodbye to them, and that we wouldn't be seeing each other again.
"He explained to me that I could stay there but I was not his first choice and he told me it was better if I went somewhere else. If I got games, did well, I could come back but I said goodbye and thank you.
"It wasn't anyone's fault. They weren't ideal environments for me. I didn't make mistakes in terms of my game or my behaviour, but I did get injured and that's not something I can control."
The 26-year-old went on to explain the main reasons for moving to Nice (relaxing climate and decent, young squad) as well as why he didn't deserve an Italy call-up despite his impressive start in France. Maybe he could have adapted his game more, but his comments indicate that sometimes a player just isn't the right fit.
As for Balotelli’s comments on Klopp, they probably underline how clear the manager was on the players he didn't want in the summer. If a player isn't going to get opportunities to play, honesty from the head coach or manager provides an accurate picture with which to make an informed decision. Klopp went his way, Balotelli went his, and both parties are now thriving.
Super Mario is entitled to address why things haven't worked out for him over the past couple of years, which involves speaking about Liverpool. Interestingly, Balotelli hasn't spoken much bar his social media conflict with Jamie Carragher. Christian Benteke commented soon after the transfer window closed and tugged at the heartstrings a few weeks later. Now Balotelli's sharing his thoughts on the matter plainly.
It could be a lot worse as Balotelli described AC Milan's administration as "confusion" with the notable exception of Adriano Galliani. The immortal Paolo Maldini said the same thing in August. There's really nothing to grumble about from a Liverpool perspective, and to be honest, AC Milan has been a mess for a while.