NEWS
Saturday August 23 2014
Agent: 'Liverpool Balo's last chance'

Mario Balotelli’s agent said Liverpool are his “Last Chance Saloon” and blamed Milan for expecting “a leader.”

The forward is on the verge of completing a £16m (€20m) transfer to Anfield and underwent his medical last night.

“Milan are a great club and I couldn’t have asked for any more from them,” Mino Raiola told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“Mario played well for six or seven months, giving a decisive push for them to enter the Champions League.

“But then you could see he is not ready to be a leader. Will he ever be a leader? It’s not mandatory that every player has to be a leader.

“I sought out for him a team where he can be an important element without being asked to be a leader. Liverpool have Steven Gerrard. There Mario will be protected and can give his best.

“Now it’s up to him. Another flop is inadvisable... Not everyone is born to be a leader and a good striker is not always a leader either.

“Mario needs to get this pressure off his shoulders. He must feel free to score goals and that’s it.”

When asked whether this was the Last Chance Saloon for Mario’s career, agent Mino Raiola was surprisingly forthright.

“At the top level, yes. It's either make or break now. If it goes wrong? Mario is 24 years old. He no longer has the alibi of his age.”

There have been reports Balotelli will have a conduct clause written into his contract, but the agent shrugged it off.

“It’s not true that I asked Liverpool for a huge percentage of the transfer fee,” continued Raiola.

“There is a very fluid, fair negotiation with the English club based on content. We’ve been going on for three months.”

There have been reports in the English papers that Balotelli has a clause in his contract with regards to behaviour on and off the field.

“Mario will not have a different contract to the other Liverpool players. He will have to follow the code of conduct of the club, like all the others.

“My job is to ensure nothing damages my client’s career.”

As for his split with Milan, Raiola had harsh words for joint-CEO Barbara Berlusconi.

“Barbara really disappointed me. She is always cordial and elegant, but I’ve spoken to her about three times in my life. I might be wrong, but in my view you say things to your face. Instead unfair things were later referred to me.”

You can read more from Raiola's interview with the Corriere della Sera here.

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