The agent of former Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, Mino Raiola, has spared no punches in his criticism of manager Jurgen Klopp after his client joined OGC Nice on a free transfer.
The agent, who also represents the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, feels that Klopp didn’t treat the Italy international with respect.
In fact, Raiola even went so far as use foul language when referring to the former Dortmund boss, and questioned the coach’s tactical nous.
“At the end of the day the Liverpool directors admitted Klopp was unfair,” Raiola told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I won’t judge him as a Coach, even if for me he isn’t a great tactician, but I don’t think he realised we were talking about a person. Mario was exemplary, he never complained even when training alone.
“It’s not enough to say Klopp was unfair: he was a piece of ****.”
Balotelli’s move to Nice caught fans and pundits by surprise, but Raiola feels it is a move that will allow the controversial player to showcase his true talent without the distraction of constant media speculation.
He added: “There is always too strong a focus on Mario in Italy. I tried to find him a place where he can be judged on his football and not his private life.
“We therefore had to exclude Italy, even if over the last two years his life off the field has been dead boring.
“Lucien Favre wanted Mario in the team and in the end that convinced us. In England he would’ve had to deal with the image of the past, while many clubs have so much money they’ll buy a player even if they don’t need him.
“It’s natural Balo is considered a risk because over the last two years he has not lived up to expectations. In that sense he’s a gamble, but I’d happily take those odds.
“If it goes well, you win the League. If it’s only decent, you finish in the top five. If it goes badly, oh well.
“Those who have the TV rights for Ligue 1 should give Nice a bonus. Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, this League has lost at least 50 per cent of its media value. With Mario, it recovers at least 30 per cent, because he’s a talented star, hoping this year it finally works out for him.
“I expect 20 goals this season. And if he’s in the same shape as he is now, he’ll definitely get 20.”
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