Friday 9 December 2016

Mario Balotelli failed because of 'jealous' Steven Gerrard, says Anfield flop El-Hadji Diouf

Samuel Stevens

Published 12/09/2016 | 17:33

Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli pictured at Liverpool. GETTY IMAGES
Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli pictured at Liverpool. GETTY IMAGES

Ex-Liverpool forward El-Hadji Diouf says he warned Mario Balotelli against joining the club two years ago because Steven Gerrard, the captain at the time, is a “jealous man”.

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Balotelli, who joined for £16m in 2014, finally ended his Anfield exile this summer with a free transfer to Nice - but not without saying the decision to sign for the Reds was the “worst of his life”.

The Italian scored twice on his debut in a 3-2 victory against Marseille this weekend, one more than the solitary league strike he mustered at Liverpool, prompting Diouf to lead an impassioned defence of his abilities in French media.

Diouf told L'Equipe: “I told him not to go to Liverpool. It wasn't made for him, that things couldn't go well with Gerrard, who has never had his talent and then said negative things about him.

“Gerrard is a jealous man who doesn't like men of character. Mario is a good person that you should listen to. He's not a guy who's going to cause problems in the dressing room.”

Gerrard, who has since left to play for Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States, is generally considered a model professional by his peers but this is just the latest outburst from Diouf concerning the former England captain. Earlier this year, the Senegalese mocked his former club team-mate for not succeeding at international tournaments with England.

On Balotelli, Diouf added: “There are a lot of things that have been made up about [Balotelli]. People tell tales about him, but they're often a load of rubbish.”

Independent News Service

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