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Thursday 18 September 2014

Confirmed: Liverpool announce the £16m signing of Mario Balotelli

Martyn Ziegler

Published 25/08/2014 | 15:31

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Liverpool have sealed one of the shock signings of the summer after confirming Mario Balotelli's arrival from AC Milan.

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The 24-year-old has agreed a "long-term deal" according to the club, but will not be registered in time to play against his former side Manchester City.

The Italy striker tweeted the news of his signing minutes ahead of the official club announcement, saying: "YNWA! COME ON LIVERPOOL!"

The club said in a statement: "Liverpool can confirm they have completed the signing of Italy striker Mario Balotelli, subject to registration.

"The 24-year-old sealed his switch to Anfield from AC Milan after passing a medical and agreeing a long-term deal to become the Reds' ninth signing of the summer so far."

In the club statement, Balotelli, who won a league winner's medal with City in 2012, said Liverpool was "a great team with young players".

He said: "I'm very happy. We've been talking about coming here and now I'm happy to be here.

Mario Balotelli was pictured training at Melwood today
Mario Balotelli was pictured training at Melwood today
Mario Balotelli was pictured training at Melwood today

"Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England and the football is very good here.

"It's a great team with young players, and that's why I came here."

Balotelli spent a year-and-a-half at Milan, where he scored 30 goals in 54 appearances.

He has also won the Champions League, three Serie A championships and the FA Cup, plus 33 caps for Italy during which he has scored 13 goals including the strike that accounted for England in the World Cup.

Balotelli has had a colourful career and has often fallen out with his managers.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is believed to have asked for assurances about the player's behaviour on and off the pitch.

Last week, Rodgers said no incoming player would be allowed to threaten the "fantastic environment" at the club.

Balotelli will wear the No 45 shirt and is understood to have signed a three-year deal with the option of a fourth year after moving for a transfer fee of £16million.

Rodgers said that was "outstanding value" for a "world-class talent".

He told the club's official website: "This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here.

"There is no doubting Mario's ability; he is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level.

"He has scored goals in the Barclays Premier League, in Italy, in the Champions League and for his country at international level.

"I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it.

"I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I'm sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome."

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