Mario Balotelli has completed his £16m Liverpool move and admitted he made a mistake leaving English football 18 months ago.
The Italian striker watched his new side against his former club Manchester City on Monday night. Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, claimed he has pulled off a coup in securing the Italian, who has signed a three-year-deal, although he will not be registered with the Premier League until Tuesday (today).
“This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here,” said Rodgers.
“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 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.”
Balotelli was introduced to his teammates in the away dressing room before the fixture with the champions. The Italian said he was anxious to return to the Premier League, admitting he regrets leaving the country in 2013.
“I’m happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake,” he said. “I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake. English football is generally better. English football is beautiful.
“Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England. The football is very good here. It’s a great team with young players, and that’s why I came here.”