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Agent: Balotelli Must Prove Himself at Liverpool

In an interview with the Corriere della Sera, agent Mino Raiola said that Liverpool could be Mario Balotelli’s last chance to make it at the top level. The Italy international is on the cusp of completing a 16 million-pound ($26.5 million) move to the Reds, having undergone a medical on Friday. In the interview, Raiola reveals that the 24-year-old will be unveiled to the press as a Liverpool player on Tuesday or Wednesday, and that this time, it’s do-or-die for his controversial client.

"At the top level, yes," Raiola told the Italian newspaper in quotes translated by Football Italia. "Either it works here or it's a bust. If it goes wrong? Mario is 24 years old. He no longer has the alibi of his age."

Raiola noted that some of the blame for Balotelli’s failure at AC Milan must rest on the club’s shoulders for putting so much pressure on him. "Milan are a great club and I couldn't have asked for any more from them. Mario played well for six or seven months, giving a decisive push for them to enter the [UEFA] Champions League [in 2013-14]. But then you could see he is not ready to be a leader. Will he ever be a leader? It's not mandatory that every player has to be a leader.”

He added: "I sought out for him a team where he can be an important element without being asked to be a leader. Liverpool have Steven Gerrard. There Mario will be protected and can give his best. Now it's up to him. Another flop is inadvisable... Not everyone is born to be a leader and a good striker is not always a leader either. Mario needs to get this pressure off his shoulders. He must feel free to score goals and that's it."

Read the whole story at ESPN.co.uk »

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