By Dave Smith
MARIO Balotelli has already gone to great lengths to assure AC Milan fans and bosses he is a ‘changed man’ – but that doesn’t mean to say he’s going to stop speaking his mind.
Here on Zapsportz.com yesterday we reported that the controversial Italian has been given a list of club rules to adhere to if his second spell with the Rossoneri is to be a success.
From his ridiculous hair cuts to his social media rants, Balotelli has been told to tow the party line. Criticising former employers was obviously not on the agenda, however.
He thanked Liverpool fans for their support on completion of his year-long loan to Milan, but he hasn’t shown too much gratitude towards Brendan Rodgers.
It’s fair to say the Reds boss will not be on his Christmas card list, as Balotelli blames the Irishman’s tactics for his own failure to make his mark at Anfield.
Lame excuse in my view. What’s it they say about good players being able to play with good players, whatever the system. And there are plenty of good players at Liverpool.
There comes a time when a player has to look at himself rather than others; not Mario it seems. Should we be surprised?
As he put pen to paper on his ‘last chance saloon’ contract with AC, he couldn’t resist a dig at Rodgers, and told Gazetta dello Sport: “I must accept my faults but the formation chosen by Rodgers was not suited to my characteristics.
“At the beginning I missed several easy chances, then I had fewer chances to score, a bit of bad luck, injuries. A mess of things.”
Balotelli says he has no problem with the strict rules enforced by the coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic, and feels he owes his new manager a debt of gratitude.
“I have been asked to tone down my look, to follow Milan’s style, and I will follow that without trouble,” he said. “I have had this haircut for a long time, I won’t take it too far.”
In fairness to new father Balotelli, he accepts he’s made mistakes in the past, but is determined not to go down the same route which led to him becoming Public Enemy No.1. Mr mis-understood.
So has he learned the error of his ways? He believes so. He added in Gazetta: “I am restarting from zero. I know that I can’t make any mistakes, I can’t expect anything and I must win everything back. I am no longer a child and I have already thrown away too many chances.”
We will observe developments from afar wit interest. Can a leopard really change his spots?