Former Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio slams Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli for 'wasting career'

Mario Balotelli Italy

Former Sunderland boss and West Ham United hero Paolo Di Canio says Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is throwing a promising career down the drain.

Di Canio has been without a job since being sacked by Sunderland after his players revolted over his management style back in 2013.

The retired maverick was no angel during a turbulent career during which he shoved a referee and was criticised for making a fascist salute to Lazio's ultra fans.

But in training and on the pitch the former Swindon boss was a consummate professional, always giving his all for the team.

The 47-year-old led something of a nomadic existence as a player, playing for no fewer than seven clubs before finally settling down and playing the best football of his career with the Hammers.

As a former Italy youth and Premier League striker with a bad boy reputation, Di Canio is well placed to assess Balotelli's stuttering career.

Di Canio's damning assessment of Balotelli

And it is a damning one with Di Canio telling Fox Sports Italia that as a coach he would never sign the out of favour Liverpool forward, who has slipped even further down the pecking order at Anfield after the signing of Christian Benteke.

“I think at some point you have to realise what it means to play with your teammates, sharing good and bad moments and it doesn’t seem like he [Balotelli] is doing that," the outspoken Di Canio told Fox Sports Italia.

“Many coaches have tried to change him. He’s still young, he’s physically strong, and he’s an incredible athlete, but he’s never taken advantage of his great potential.

“It seems like he uses football to be a celebrity, rather than the opposite.”

'He spends too much time on social media'

Di Canio, who scored 127 goals and made many many more in an enigmatic career, also criticised Balotelli for spending too much time on social media and says that while he hopes the much-maligned star will turn his career around, he can't see it happening anytime soon.

After a miserable first season in Liverpool, Balotelli has been linked with a return to Serie A at Sampdoria - as per the Mirror earlier this summer.

The striker has a decent scoring record overall, though, with 79 goals - including 13 for Italy - during his career so far and is still only 24-years-old.

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