According to reports, Mourinho had a meeting with Liverpool’s out of favour striker Mario Balotelli.
Italian media outlet calciomercato.com have reported about the meeting between the two. The Italian forward had played under Mourinho’s management during their time at Inter Milan. Balotelli had become a teenage sensation at his time at Inter, but there were a lot of controversies between him and his Portuguese manager, mostly caused by the player’s antics on and off the pitch. However, amidst all controversies, Balotelli scored 28 goals in 86 appearances for Inter. A subsequent transfer worth 21.8 million pounds to Manchester City in 2010 did him good, followed by one to AC Milan in 2012. He netted a total of 60 goals for these clubs.
However, since then, his career has taken a steady dip. His disciplinary issues have always been in the news and although he was signed by Liverpool in 2015 to replace the Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez, his performance on the pitch has never been as noteworthy as his antics. A loan to AC Milan for the 2015-16 season did not do him much good either as he netted just once in the league.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it pretty clear that Balotelli is not part of his plans and now the Italian has to look for a new club. Mourinho apparently met his former player and advised him regarding his indiscipline and wage demands.
At 26, Balotelli is still in his prime and himself said in an interview in July that he will win the Ballon D’or one day. It is not known whether his former manager is as confident as the player himself, but Balotelli needs to look for the right club where he can showcase his obvious football talents. In order to do that, Mourinho reportedly asked him to change his attitude.
A host of clubs including Sampdoria, Besiktas, Ajax and Chievo want to sign the Italian, but with his high wage demands, a move is seeming less likely. Balotelli still has one year left in his contract, but in order to get the move away from Liverpool, Mourinho feels he must lower his asking salary.
There is no question of Balotelli’s capabilities, as he has proved his worth both at the club level and for Italy, but he needs to get his attitude right in order to shine on the big stage. Whether the meeting with one of the world’s most successful and experienced manager bore any fruit though, remains to be seen.