Liverpool sign Mario Balotelli

  • Last Updated: August 26 2014, 9:07 BST

Liverpool have sealed one of the shock signings of the summer after confirming Mario Balotelli's arrival from AC Milan.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers talks to Sky Sports about the signing
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers talks to Sky Sports about the signing

The 24-year-old has agreed a "long-term deal" according to Liverpool, but was not registered in time to play in the 3-1 defeat against his former side Manchester City on Monday night.

The Italy striker tweeted the news of his signing minutes ahead of the official club announcement, saying: "YNWA! COME ON LIVERPOOL!"

The club said in a statement: "Liverpool can confirm they have completed the signing of Italy striker Mario Balotelli, subject to registration.

"The 24-year-old sealed his switch to Anfield from AC Milan after passing a medical and agreeing a long-term deal to become the Reds' ninth signing of the summer so far."

The striker, who will wear his favoured number 45 shirt, is understood to have signed a three-year deal with the option of a fourth year.

Balotelli told Liverpool's official website: "I always start a competition wanting to win it. We will see. I want to win another Champions League for sure, because the Champions League wasn't all mine, I was in a team. I want to take this team to the Champions League."

The striker also admitted that just 18 months back in Milan had convinced him he should return to the Premier League.

He added: "I'm happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake. I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake.

"English football is generally better. English football is beautiful."

Balotelli was given a rough ride by Liverpool fans during his visits to Anfield while with City, but he has already been given a warm welcome by supporters who had been mourning the departure of Luis Suarez.

He added: "I didn't expect it [the warm reception] because whenever I played against Liverpool, the fans weren't nice with me but that's normal - it's football! Now that I play for Liverpool, I can see the expectation in people. They're very happy and that makes me very happy at the same time.

"To play here for Liverpool excites me, but if you're an opponent it's difficult.

Balotelli on Liverpool move "Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England. The football is very good here. It's a great team with young players, and that's why I came here."
Balotelli on Liverpool move

"Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England. The football is very good here. It's a great team with young players, and that's why I came here."

He has also won the Champions League, three Serie A championships and the FA Cup, plus 33 caps for Italy during which he has scored 13 goals including the strike that accounted for England in the World Cup.

Liverpool boss Rodgers told the club's official website that the deal to sign Balotelli was "outstanding value" for a "world-class talent".

Rodgers on Balotelli "This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here."
Rodgers on Balotelli

"There is no doubting Mario's ability; he is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level.

"He has scored goals in the Barclays Premier League, in Italy, in the Champions League and for his country at international level.

"I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it.

"I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I'm sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome."

Rodgers later talked to Sky Sports ahead of the Monday Night Football clash with Manchester City and offered more thoughts on his new signing.

The Liverpool boss initially joked when asked what Balotelli will bring to Anfield, saying: "Trouble!"

But he added: "I look at the talent - he's a wonderful talent.

"There's no doubt he's at a stage in his career that this might be the last chance at a big club because he needs to settle down and show maturity.

"And I've worked with those type of players all my life, from when I worked in youth coaching.

"I never had the finished article and that's how - at times - I like it.

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"He's got huge potential, but needs to come to Liverpool and be consistent because if he can do that we've got one hell of a player."

Rodgers believes Balotelli is intelligent enough to realise the opportunity he has at Anfield and will settle well, moving away from the problems that have hampered his career to date.

He said: "Most players I like to sit down and look in the eye and see the honesty and the humility that they have and I think that when I sat with him and I spent a bit of time with him, about three-and-a-half hours.

"You know it's a massive club and it's a different club, it's a family club with strong family values and as I said behaviour is very important here.

"It was also about the football element. We can help improve his game, improve the consistency in his game and he was ready to take on that challenge.

"He's a very bright boy. He was very clever. He's a really good guy and I'm excited to work with him because that's the type of talent I like to work with - someone that we can improve both as a football player and a person."

Sky Bet have priced up some Mario Balotelli Specials.

Balotelli is 11/8 to score on his Premier League debut for Liverpool, 8/1 for a brace and 40/1 to net a hat-trick. You can get 25/1 for the Italian to receive a red card in his first game.

He's 5/6 for over 12.5 Premier League goals this season and the same price to fall short of that total.