Italian-born Dutch super-agent Mino Raiola had his hand in the biggest deal of the summer, but he was standing in the way of the deal that took his client and former Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli to OGC Nice.
Balotelli has gotten off to a wonderful start to his career in France, scoring four goals in four appearances for Ligue 1 club OGC Nice. It looks like the player’s career is back on an upward trajectory after his forgettable stint at Anfield.
However, club president Jean Pierre Rivère has now revealed that Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola had warned him not to sign the Italian striker from the Reds.
“Before an important meeting with Mario, which was delayed because of plane troubles, Mino told me all sorts of reasons why I should not take this player,” said Rivère in an interview with French publication L’equipe, according to getfootballnewsfrance.com.
“And when the player arrived, he said to him: “There you go, I told the President everything that is bad about you.” These are sales tactics. He has brought Balotelli to Nice but I am not sure he has done this happily. He told me: “For once, Mario gets to choose his destination.”
Balotelli spent last season on loan at Serie A club AC Milan, where he scored only 3 goals in 23 appearances for I Rossoneri. His poor performances and notoriously poor attitude meant that there was no place for him in the new Liverpool set-up under Jurgen Klopp.
The German told the 25-year-old that he should leave in the summer. With many clubs linked with the former Inter and Manchester City striker, French club Nice snapped him up on deadline day on a free transfer.
The deal was one that was satisfactory for the club, since they already have a trio of strikers ready. There was no way Balotelli could have played for the English club, after claiming he was never happy at Liverpool in the first place.
It remains to be seen if the Italian striker can resurrect his career at the French club, after falling far from his potential in the past few seasons.