Neville: Last chance for Mario

Gary Neville says Mario Balotelli is in the last-chance saloon after sealing his £16million move to Liverpool.

Last Updated: 26/08/14 at 10:12 Post Comment

Balotelli: pundits not convinced by Liverpool signing

Balotelli: pundits not convinced by Liverpool signing

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Italy striker is back in the Premier League after 18 months at AC Milan and Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to get the best out of a player who scored 20 goals in two-and-a-half seasons at Manchester City, but was also sent off three times.

Liverpool will be the fifth club that Balotelli has played for by the age of 24 and Sky Sports pundit Neville says top teams will not want him if he fails to live up to his potential at Anfield.

“When he starts games, his goal ratio has been pretty good,” he told Monday Night Football.

“They are getting a goalscorer. They needed somebody else up there with Daniel Sturridge. They can’t compete on all levels and not have another presence.

“I have to say he played at City, who were the champions of England at the time, AC Milan is a great club and he played for Italy and the demands that Cesare Prandelli put on him. He has played under pressure in the last few years.

“This is his last chance at what you would call a big club and he has got to deliver.”

Balotelli won a Premier League medal in 2011/12 at Manchester City, but was offloaded to AC Milan by Roberto Mancini in the following season.

And while Neville says he has proved his ability on the international stage, his attitude needs to improve if he is to be a success at his new club.

“When you’ve got these maverick players, you’ve always got to weigh up the positives that they bring against the negatives,” he added.

“Certainly in Manchester last time and particularly in his second season, Roberto Mancini was having to make different rules for him. There were a lot of good players in the squad and he was having to move players out of position.

“He became a massive distraction to the whole club and the whole squad. It was constant all the time.

“If he settles down, I have got in the back of my mind Euro 2012 when I slightly changed my mind. I didn’t rate him that much at Manchester City, but when he played against England against Ashley Cole and John Terry down the left side, he was absolutely fantastic.

“If he can produce that level of performance consistently, he has got a player - but he needs to get rid of the rubbish that existed the last time when he was at City.”

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has played against Balotelli and agrees that Rodgers has taken a risk by signing the player.

However, he says the fee represents good value in the current transfer market.

He said: “Looking at the situation Liverpool were in, they needed a striker and you’re getting the Italian number one striker for £16million.

“Look at the prices. Ross McCormack in the Championship went to Fulham for £12million, so in terms of business I think it’s good business from Liverpool, but there has got to be a worry signing Balotelli.

“There’s a reason he costs £16million and has moved so often within his career already. That is a problem for Liverpool.

“If we see the Balotelli of Euro 2012, then I’d say it’s a great signing, but I don’t want to see the Balotelli we saw at City in a Liverpool shirt; petulant, stupid sendings-off, walking about…

“I played against him two or three times and he did nothing in the game. You knew if you got tight to him and put him under pressure, he’d fall out of the game. We’ve got to see more than that.”

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

Footer 365

Sky sources: Alan Irvine will be in charge for West Brom's trip to West Ham on New Year's Day

A senior West Brom source has told Sky Sports News HQ that Alan Irvine will be in charge for the game against West Ham.

Transfer news: Fernando Torres heads back to Atletico Madrid on loan until end of next season

Fernando Torres is to return to Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of the 2015-16 season.

Simon Mignolet: I'll take positives from losing Liverpool spot and come back stronger

Simon Mignolet says a recent spell out of the Liverpool side could end up having a positive effect on his career.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property