Sidelined Balotelli in running for a fat bonus

LONDON • Mario Balotelli is due a six-figure "loyalty bonus" from Liverpool, should he remain at the club once the summer transfer window has closed.

The Italy international has been frozen out of Brendan Rodgers' plans at Anfield and made to train away from the first-team squad.

But despite appearing to have no prospects of a future at Liverpool, and in spite of their ongoing attempts to find him a new club, the striker will receive a lucrative bonus should he remain their employee into a second year.

Balotelli took a 50 per cent pay cut when he joined Liverpool from Milan in a £16 million (S$35 million) transfer last year, albeit with his basic £80,000-a-week wage at Anfield topped up with behaviour- and performance-related clauses.

His agent, Mino Raiola, also negotiated a series of loyalty bonuses into the three-year contract and one will be payable should Balotelli resist a transfer before Sept 1.

Raiola had stated earlier this summer that his client would not leave Liverpool in this transfer window despite interest from several Italian clubs, Sampdoria and Bologna among them.

Liverpool would be prepared to let the striker leave on loan after he made only 10 Premier League starts for Rodgers' team last season, scoring one league goal, but Balotelli has shown no interest in returning to Italy.

Alberto Moreno, the 25-year-old's Liverpool team-mate, believes Balotelli has been unfairly criticised during his time on Merseyside.

The Spanish defender told Marca: "I think he's unfairly maligned. He's a very relaxed guy - he never bothers anyone. He could be a great striker; he's got the tools.

"Things haven't gone well for him here. He's really struggled to score goals. 'This had never happened to me before,' he told me.

"I wish him the best if he ends up leaving because he's a great lad."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2015, with the headline 'Sidelined Balotelli in running for a fat bonus'. Print Edition | Subscribe