Latest antics confirm Mario Balotelli has blown it big time
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli toasted his 25th birthday yesterday - with the landmark celebration serving to highlight the suspension of a career that appears to be stuck in neutral.
Lucas Leiva, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Lazar Markovic, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Emre Can and Dejan Lovren were among those who showed up for Mario's birthday bash, yet the latest tales emerging about the maverick Italian shed a little light on why he is no longer a part of manager Brendan Rodgers first team plans.
After being left out of Liverpool's pre-season games, Balotelli finds himself wondering where the next step on his career will come, with talk of a move to Turkish and Qatari football evidence of how far his stock has fallen.
Balotelli has always been a little different to the rest, but his move from AC Milan to Liverpool last summer represented what Rodgers suggested was his final chance to reshape his career for the better.
He has blown it, and blown it big time.
Childish messages on his social media site had led to fines and suspensions from the FA, while his reported antics on the Liverpool training ground have left boss Rodgers to conclude he cannot be trusted in a Premier League match.
The Independent reported today that Balotelli was guilty of shouting an injured team-mate Jon Flanagan seconds after he picked up a serious injury last season and later that afternoon, he thought it was funny to start scoring own goals in a practice game. It did not go down well with the Liverpool bosses.
Throw in his driving ban after he was caught speeding at 109mph on the M62 last December and it adds up to a tale of woe that has been added to with a couple more bizarre events this week.
After getting a parking ticket in Liverpool city centre - which seems to be a regular occurrence for an individual who literally parks where ever he likes - he posted an image on his Instagram account of him pointing an accusing finger at the parking attendant giving him his fine (below).
Then there was this incident at Balotelli's house in the early hours of Tuesday morning, as he was sprayed with champagne by his friends a few hours before he was meant to be at training. You suspect Rodgers may not have like scene a whole lot either.
In essence, what we have seen from Balotelli in the last year is precisely what many expected he would bring to Liverpool - chaos, chaos and more chaos.
Whoever signed off on the deal to sign him needs to accept responsibility for their mistake, with Sunday World columnist John Aldridge admitting it will be hard to get rid of the striker any time soon.
"Getting rid of Balotelli now will be very difficult," declares Aldo. "We all knew this signing was a gamble, but it has backfired horribly."
Rich beyond his wildest dreams and now untouchable for any major club in the game, Balotelli looks set to go down in the annals of soccer history as one of the great unsolved mysteries.