Ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez rules out January raid for Mario Balotelli

Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has ruled out a January raid on former employers Liverpool for Mario Balotelli.

Speculation may continue to suggest that Mario Balotelli is poised to beat a hasty retreat at Liverpool and pack his bags for home, but another Serie A side have ruled themselves out of the running for the Italy international.

Brendan Rodgers was prepared to take a ‘calculated risk’ on the enigmatic striker in August, but he would appear to be in the minority.

Just three months in to his Anfield career and Balotelli finds himself stumbling towards footballing limbo.

Liverpool supporters have seen little to suggest that their £16 million summer signing is capable of filling the boots of Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez, while Italy coach Antonio Conte was initially reluctant to call upon the 24-year-old before seeing him pick up a knock prior to the latest round of Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Roberto Mancini – back in work at Inter Milan, a club where he has previously worked with Balotelli – has refused to be drawn on reports of a reunion at the San Siro, claiming that Liverpool are a good fit for the ex-Manchester City man.

Napoli coach Rafa Benitez has also been having his say, with a boss who spent six years on Merseyside between 2004 and 2010 ruling out a January raid on a club he knows well for their out-of-sorts frontman.

Benitez told Gazzetta dello Sport: “There is absolutely no truth in the rumours that we want him here in January, it is an option that I have never taken into consideration.”

  GoalsGoal AssistTotal Scoring AttTotal TackleAccurate PassTotal Sub OffAppearancesMins Played
Mario Balotelli 0 0 35 12 123 4 9 685

With Balotelli seemingly off the transfer radar of leading Serie A sides and about to see Daniel Sturridge come back into contention for Liverpool, what does the future hold for one of football’s most controversial figures?

It is still early days for him at Anfield and it may be slightly premature to be writing him off, given that few Reds stars have shone this season.

Balotelli may be left with little choice, though, but to keep plugging away in the Premier League, with there a reluctance from those back in his homeland to roll the dice and take a gamble on a player who continues to push patience to breaking point.

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