AC Milan sign Mario Balotelli on a season-long loan from Liverpool
AC Milan have officially announced the signing of Mario Balotelli on a season-long loan from Liverpool, according to BBC. The 25-year-old Italian striker will return to the San Siro after departing from the club for Anfield costing the Reds £16 million in 2014 and has reportedly agreed to take a pay-cut to his current wages, with the Merseyside club also agreeing to pay half of his salary.
Balotelli managed just four goals in 28 appearances for Liverpool, with only one of those goals coming in 16 league matches. His lacklustre performances in the previous season was the subject of constant criticism from the media and fans, as he eventually lost his place in the Italy squad as well due to the poor form.
The highly controversial striker has struggled to force his way back into the team and found himself under new signings Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and the returning Divock Origi in the pecking order. He was left out by manager Brendan Rodgers for Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East in the summer, and also didn’t make the squad for the Reds’ first three Premier League fixtures of the season.
The Italian international successfully completed his medical at the Modonnina Clini in Milan and admitted his happiness about his return to the Rossoneri while speaking with the press shortly after.
“I am happy to be back.” he said, as quoted on the club’s official website. “I don't have much to say because I just need to train and show what I can contribute.”
“Physically I am ok but I need to train with the squad. I am very motivated but I need to work hard and talk less. I always hoped I would return to Milan, the club hold a special place in my heart. Do I want to end my career here? I just want to get back to work and have a good season, I have to work and that is it."
The 25-year-old is viewed by the club as a valuable addition to the squad. He was quite prolific during his previous spell at the club, scoring 26 goals in 43 league appearances after arriving from Manchester City in the 2013 January transfer window. A return to Milan will see him join up with the likes of Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano, Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Bertolacci as Milan continue to prepare their squad for the long season, with €83 million already spent on players so far.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side lost 2-0 away to Fiorentina in their first league fixture, and the team will be looking to bounce back after the defeat. Balotelli is likely to be included in the squad for Milan’s clash against Empoli, and could even be set for his first start of the season.