Italian striker Mario Balotelli, often referred to as the “bad boy” of football, on Monday signed on for Liverpool in a long-term deal, returning to the Premier League after just one and a half season with his boyhood club AC Milan.
Nineteen months after ending a 2½-year spell with Manchester City to play for Milan, 24-year-old Balotelli - known as much for his controversies as for his goals – will join Liverpool as a replacement for Luis Suarez.
The transfer fee was not disclosed but media reports have speculated the amount to be around 16 million pounds (20 million euros).
"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 told the club's official website.
During his 2.5-year-spell at City, in which he won the league title, Balotelli was sent off four times, threw a dart at a youth-team player and was involved in an incident that saw fireworks let off in his bathroom.
Days before news of the fireworks incident emerged, Balotelli had revealed a T-shirt under his City jersey with the question, “Why Always Me?” after scoring in the team’s 6-1 win over Manchester United.
Balotelli, with his physique, technical ability and qualities as a finisher, is one of the world’s best strikers. At Milan, he scored 26 goals in 43 league matches and is the Italian national team’s top striker.