Balotelli set for Inter exit
Temperamental teenage star Mario Balotelli will not be staying at Inter Milan next year unless his situation improves, his agent has said.
The 19-year-old has had a tempestuous campaign having fallen out first with coach Jose Mourinho and then lately with the club's fans. He has also found himself increasingly confined to the bench since the January arrival of Macedonia's Goran Pandev.
And his agent Mino Raiola has put potential suitors such as Arsenal and Manchester City on the alert by claiming his charge could well be on his way out. "It's sure that like this he can't go on, Mario won't be staying another year at Inter like this, I can guarantee that," he said.
"Over the last eight to nine months no-one in the club has been protecting Mario. I'm accused of acting like his press officer and it's true given that the Inter press officer has only one client: Mourinho," continued Raiola. "Mario is not perfect, just like Mourinho is not horrible, but Mourinho needs a common enemy for himself and the team and Balotelli fell into the trap.
"Sometimes in training he's even scared. Mario made his apologies but I haven't heard those of the team-mates who attacked him in the changing rooms, nor has the club acted on that. Mario was sure that this would be his year, that he'd be first choice for club and country. He didn't achieve his objectives and reacted with a tension from which he has not managed to escape," he said.
Balotelli first broke into the first team picture two years ago under Roberto Mancini, now at Manchester City, but has not managed to earn more than a bit-part role under Mourinho. The Portuguese coach has often criticised the Italian of Ghanaian descent for his attitude in both training and matches and his lack of effort.
But the last straw came at the end of the Champions League semi-final first leg - a 3-1 victory against Barcelona - when after being jeered by fans for his listless 20-minute cameo, Balotelli flung his shirt to the ground. That angered fans and players alike with FIFA World Cup winning centre-back Marco Materazzi allegedly getting physical with the youngster in the changing rooms while some fans tried to attack him as he left.
But Raiola seems to lay most of the blame at the feet of Mourinho. "Balotelli is expecting to play with Inter until the end of the season with the hope of playing in the Champions League final," he added. "But Mourinho has taught him that percentages count for little, that 99.9 percent is worth zero. Balotelli wants to play in sacred peace, to have a bit of joy at the end of the season because he's not had much throughout it. He's suffered terribly, with a lot of stress.
"Mario doesn't have a problem either with the fans or the team but it's clear that the problems with the club have not been solved. I don't know if they can be solved. Balotelli has asked for forgiveness but someone in the club has purposefully not understood.," he said.