442469_heroa

‘Balotelli is no Ibrahimovic’

The Italy star left Milan for Liverpool at the end of the summer after just 18 months at the club and has been criticised for failing to make a success of his time at San Siro

Sampdoria striker Stefano Okaka says Mario Balotelli lacked the maturity displayed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at AC Milan after departing the club for Liverpool.

The Italy star has endured a controversy-ridden career which has already taken in spells at Inter, Manchester City, Milan and now the Reds, with his latest move coming just 18 months on from his arrival at San Siro.

The 24-year-old ended his Rossoneri career with a respectable tally of 26 goals in 43 games but came under scrutiny as Milan finished in a desperately disappointing eighth position in Serie A last season, before making his exit in August.

Balotelli has now been branded a “failure” by Sampdoria’s Okaka, who claims the striker lacked the maturity to take responsibility, unlike Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time with the Italian giants.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Is the fact Balotelli left Serie A for England a failure for our football? No, if anything he is the one who failed. Does he think great champions were never under pressure? When Ibrahimovic was in Italy, he scored 30 goals per season.

“He mustn’t keep looking to blame others. Mario is a great player, but if he had problems in Italy then half the responsibility is his.

“At times in life you need to stop and look inside yourself. The fact remains he is a great player and this new English experience might help him rediscover the hunger he once had.”