Ancelotti: Balotelli has become Liverpool scapegoat

Mario Balotelli Italy

Ahead of tonight's Champions League clash with Liverpool, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti believes Mario Balotelli is being made a scapegoat at Anfield.

For a brief moment after helping Liverpool hit back from a goal down to see off Swansea City in the Capital One Cup, the Mario Balotelli-bashing stopped.

The Italian had netted his second goal since a big-money move from AC Milan and was being credited with inspiring a late comeback that had fired Brendan Rodgers’ side into the quarter-finals and a step closer to Wembley.

Fast forward 90 minutes and, following another abject display from those in red away at Newcastle United, the knives are back out for Super Mario.

Is he being unfairly singled out though?

He is by no means the only player to be underperforming on Merseyside this season and Liverpool knew precisely what they were getting when they took a calculated risk on bringing him on board – after all, work rate and playing with a smile on his face have never been what Balotelli is about.

It appears that for all his detractors - of which there are many - the fiery frontman has found an unlikely ally in a man he will be hoping to frustrate this evening, with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti of the opinion that the Liverpool striker has been made a scapegoat.

  PositionGoalsGoal AssistOntarget Scoring AttTotal PassTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Mario Balotelli FW 1 0 15 211 393 11 831

He said in quotes carried by the Daily Express: “Balotelli is spoken of a lot - maybe far too much, because I don’t think all of Liverpool’s problems are Mario Balotelli.

“I know Mario. He has quality, but he is at a team where they are not playing well, and have lost a striker in Luis Suarez who scored a lot of goals.

“Of course, Liverpool need another solution, but their coach will not think all of Livepool’s problems are on one player.

“Balotelli needs to do his work for the side, of course, and that’s all that can be asked of him.”

Balotelli will be hoping for another opportunity to prove his worth at the Santiago Bernabeu and there will be plenty of wrongs to be set right from Liverpool’s clash with Real a fortnight ago.

Headlines were made for all the wrong reasons at Anfield, with an ill-advised half-time shirt swap with Pepe seeing Balotelli face criticism from all quarters.

He needs to start answering those critics on the field if he is to prove that he can be the natural successor to the enigmatic talent of Suarez.

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