Mario Balotelli has been at Liverpool for less than a month, but he is already starting to attract controversies.
On Friday, the Reds played a closed-door friendly against Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers at Melwood, and soon after on social networking site Twitter rumours started to spread that Balotelli had kicked or headbutted an opponent in the head.
George Saville was pictured holding his head with Liverpool players surrounding the Italy international, thereby flaring up suggestions that the former Chelsea youngster had been struck by the 24-year-old.
The news did not take long to reach Balotelli’s native Italy, where sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport gave the incident a whole new meaning by claiming that it was ‘The Truman Show’ in their paper version – a reference to the 1998 American movie starring Jim Carrey about a man who is the unwilling protagonist of a constructed reality television show.
The famous pink paper went on to claim that Balotelli had exchanged words with the referee, who they believe is an Everton fan, while it has also been claimed that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers pulled him out of the team because of the incident.
It has since been reported in the British media that Balotelli did not strike Saville in the head. It was a 50-50 challenge between the striker and the Wolves youngster in which neither hit the ground, and the game continued as normal.
Balotelli himself did not seem to be affected by the news, as he posted the following photo on Instagram late on Friday along with the message: ‘Liverpool beach! Ahah nice anyway:-)’