Photo: Mario Balotelli’s letter to Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard

Balotelli

The Italian forward wished the Reds hero the best of luck in the future and stated it was an honour to play with him.

Steven Gerrard’s Anfield swansong was ruined by Crystal Palace’s prolificacy yesterday, with Liverpool beaten 3-1 at home by the London outfit in their captain’s last game on Merseyside.

The Reds fans marked a special day for the homegrown hero, while tributes for the former England international have come in from football personalities from all over the world.

However, one slightly unexpected source of respect is Mario Balotelli, with the tempestuous Italian forward forgetting about his selfish persona in a mark of respect to Gerrard.

The former Inter and AC Milan attacker penned Gerrard a letter, which he published on Instagram for his followers to read, only then to delete it.

The letter, as published in The Liverpool Echo, reads as follows:

"Stevie,

"I had the honour to play with you, not for long but still an amazing an unforgettable experience for me.

"You are a great man and a cool captain! It's a pleasure leaving free kicks and penalties to you.

"I wish you all the best for your next venture and your family. You deserve the best.

"Good luck my friend.

"Mario Balotelli.”

With Liverpool missing out on Champions League football for next season, Gerrard is widely expected to be joined by a host of other Reds players in leaving the club.

Balotelli has had an underwhelming first campaign back in English football and has struggled to fill the void left by Luis Suarez.

Gerrard will play his final game for Liverpool on the last day of the season, where the Merseysiders travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke.

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