Mario Balotelli has revealed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spoke to him just once before his summer transfer to Nice. The 26-year-old striker was told he did not feature in Klopp's plans at Anfield during the transfer window and Balotelli has exposed the extent to which their professional relationship broke down.
Balotelli has claimed the Reds boss encouraged him to go out on loan to another club in their one and only conversation.
"Klopp doesn't know me, I spoke to him once, he told me to go somewhere else, work hard and then return," Balotelli said, according to Sky Italia. "So I said goodbye to them, and that we wouldn't be seeing each other again."
Balotelli endured a turbulent two-year spell at Liverpool, which also featured a season-long loan move to AC Milan. The Italian concedes that his time at Anfield did not work out – but he does not blame anyone else for the move failing, admitting he was not suited to the club.
"It wasn't anyone's fault. They weren't ideal environments for me," the former Liverpool striker explained. "I didn't make mistakes in terms of my game or my behaviour, but I did get injured and that's not something I can control."
By contrast to his unhappy time at Liverpool, Balotelli feels settled in his new surroundings in Nice, where he moved on the final day of the transfer window. "At the start," Balotelli admitted, "I chose Nice for the climate, I wanted to be in a relaxing but beautiful place, where it's difficult to get out the wrong side of the bed. The other reason I chose Nice is because there's a decent group of young players. We're all about the same age."
Balotelli's outspoken agent Mino Raiola recently slammed Klopp, suggesting the Liverpool manager failed to treat the striker with the respect he deserved. "At the end of the day he [Balotelli] was a player of Liverpool and you need to treat him with respect – and he [Klopp] didn't do that," Raiola told TalkSport.
"Mario asked several times to have a friendly match. You can train all you want but, at the end of the day, you need 90 minutes, you need a friendly. He never considered him for 60 days. I'm not judging him as a trainer – I don't like him as a trainer at all – but you have to let him play."