When Mario Balotelli arrived at Liverpool in August in a big money move from Italian side AC Milan, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers insisted that this didn’t signal the start of the “Mario Balotelli show” at Anfield, but following his poor run of form and a social media faux pas earlier in the week, the Northern Irishman sure has had to spend a lot of time talking about the Italian striker.
The 24-year old has submitted an explanation to the Football Association regarding his now infamous Instagram post of a picture of Nintendo video game character Super Mario with a caption that made reference to both race and religion. While the post was quickly removed and an apology made, Balotelli, who has been the victim of a number of high profile racist incidents in the past, has explained to football’s governing body that the post was intended to be both a humorous and ironic anti-racism message.
Although few would argue that there’s any real proof that the striker carries any anti-Semitic or feelings of racial bias, the FA could take a dim view of the post with a possible five match ban on the horizon should they decide to throw the book at him. This, of course, is only another point to strengthen the argument that the Italian international will be shipped out of Anfield in January.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Sunderland, refused to give credence to those rumours, instead insisting that the 24-year old has a future on Merseyside. “He’s still very much a Liverpool player but he’s injured at the moment and there’s nothing more to add” he said when asked about Balotelli in his pre-match press conference. “He’s not fit to play and my concentration is on players who are fit and available to play and that’s my only thinking at the moment. He is working with the medical team on a daily basis and I trust the team of people here to look after injuries.”