Mario Ballotelli ‘sicky’ could be the last straw for Brescia
The troubled career of Italy striker Mario Ballotelli has taken another controversial twist as the player may be on the brink of being released by Brescia.
Italian sporting media reported on Saturday that Ballotelli’s contract will be terminated after repeated absences from training.
Multiple sources have claimed that a letter notifying Balotelli of his release was sent to the former Manchester City and Liverpool striker by the club’s lawyers on Friday.
Brescia set to release striker
Behavioural issues have dogged Ballotelli throughout his career but his phenomenal talent has often been enough to convince clubs to gamble on him.
He returned to Italy in 2019 after a stint in France with Marseille who acquired the forward from Nice.
The news of his release comes just a few days after former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers labelled Ballotelli ‘unlucky’ not to be among the top three strikers in the world at the time of his signing.
“He should be one of the top three strikers in world football.
“He has everything. It’s the difference between talent and working talent. It was just unfortunate he’d come in when Luis [Suarez] had left and in his first game he did very well.”
That first game was not a taste of things to come as Ballotelli courted controversy with off-field antics and frustrated coaches.
If the Brescia revelations prove to be true it will reinforce the belief that Ballotelli is his own worst enemy.
Reports out of Lombardy claim Balotelli has missed several sessions since Serie A teams returned to training at the start of May.
Players trained as individuals before clearance was given for them to resume team training last month.
The 29-year-old said this week he had been sick and would send the club medical certificates as proof, but it appears Brescia view his absence as an absconsion.
Brescia coach Diego Lopez said he was “disappointed” with the forward’s attitude this week.
“Mario is training separately because his team-mates have done work that he hasn’t,” Lopez told Corriere della Sera on Friday.
“The (individual) training sessions were optional, okay. But the group took one road and he took another. On Zoom, during the quarantine, we didn’t see him. Even if he says he feels good, he’s not at the level of his team-mates.”
Another letdown from Mario Ballotelli
Brescia president Massimo Cellino said Balotelli’s “mind is no longer” with the club last month. The club were bottom of the table and nine points from safety when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
“I love him and I was hoping that the air of home and the desire to get back into the national team would do him good. We are all disappointed,” said Cellino.
Balotelli, who has 36 caps for Italy, has scored just five times in 19 matches for Brescia.