- Premier League
Leaving England was a mistake - Balotelli
New Liverpool signing Mario Balotelli says his decision to leave the Premier League for Serie A was a "mistake", while manager Brendan Rodgers has assured fans he can get the best out of the striker.
Liverpool completed a £16 million deal for Balotelli on Monday, taking Rodgers' summer spending on transfers past the £130m mark. The 24-year-old signed a "long term" deal with the club and returns to England having left Manchester City for AC Milan in January 2013.
Balotelli, though, admits it was the wrong choice to leave for Italy.
"I'm happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake. I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake," Balotelli told Liverpool's website. "English football is generally better. English football is beautiful."
The Italian developed a controversial reputation during his two-and-a-half year stay at City, which led to Liverpool reportedly inserting a behavioural clause into his contract.
However, the forward's reputation is not cause for concern for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman is convinced a move to Merseyside will bring the best out of Balotelli, who he described as a "world class" talent, and that his new signing is a different player to the 19-year-old City signed in August 2010.
"This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here," Rodgers told Liverpoolfc.com.
"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.
"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."