31 Aug 2015

'Waste of Space': Angry legend slates £85k-a-week Liverpool misfit, and Carra contradicts himself

Is Mario Balotelli the most despised player to ever turn out for Liverpool? Amongst ex-Reds, that definitely seems to be the case, and LFC legend Mark Lawrenson has proven that again with yet another dig at the on-loan Italian striker.

Prior to his arrival at Liverpool, a whole host of ex-Reds slated Balotelli [salary: £4.3m-a-year/£85k-a-week], and in his most recent column for the Liverpool Echo, Lawro shows that nothing has changed a year later. After the Italian sealed a loan deal to AC Milan, Lawro scathed:

"[Balotelli] is just a waste of space. No-one has any idea what is going on with ‘Super Mario’. In training, in attitude, it’s always about him".

Sounds to me like Lawro has been reading the totally unsubstantiated gossip being spread by allegedly reputable newspapers.

That said, Lawro's current view is comparatively tame compared to some of the vitriol hurled Balotelli's way over the last couple of years. Here is a selection of comments from ex-Reds:

* Graeme Souness: "[Balotelli] is a liability. He is the type of player who would get himself sent off after five minutes of a cup final, leaving his team-mates a man short for 85 minutes. Can you rely on him? The answer is: no".

* Alan Hansen: "He [is] a damaging distraction. When you are going for a title, Balotelli and everything that he brings with him goes against everything that you want down the final straight"

* Dietmar Hamann: "He's a distraction. The only reason he got away with his behaviour for so long was because he scored some important goals. If I was a manager or a player, I wouldn't want him in my team".

* Tommy Smith: "Mario Balotelli is a nutcase who would not have lasted five minutes in any dressing room I’ve been in".

* Jamie Redknapp: "Balotelli is like a volcano waiting to erupt, a bubbling cauldron of trouble with a giant risk of letting you down".

* Kenny Dalglish: "I think Balotelli got himself sent off. Sometimes if you look in the mirror, you get the answer. Sometimes he doesn't help himself. Sometimes he doesn't get the leeway. But if you help yourself you don't get that".

* Steve Nicol: "Balotelli is a guy who is not producing on the field, and he's making a mockery of the club off the field".

* Jaimie Carragher: "Balotelli was a major mistake. I still can't believe that they signed him. He is kidding some coaches if he gets a move to AC Milan". Hmmm. Carra 'still can't believe' Liverpool signed Balotelli? A year ago, he told the Daily Mail: "£16million for a 24-year-old who is Italy’s No. 1 striker looks a great deal".

In the interest of vindictive symmetry, I'll give the final word to Lawro, who's proven in the past that he is able to offer a fair and measured assessment of Balotelli:

* Mark Lawrenson: "Balotelli is an absolute disgrace. [He] thinks the whole world revolves around him. I can't think of a more destructive influence in the Premier League. He's not worth the aggravation, and doesn't do anything for dressing room harmony".

The knives are out for Balotelli (let's be honest, they've never been sheathed), and the cynical, rumour-mongering hatchet jobs by (amongst others) the Echo, and The Guardian are (arguably) a form of bullying.

Author: Jaimie K


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