Mario Balotelli finally found his goalscoring form to net the winner in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham on Tuesday night, much to the delight of the Anfield faithful – but not to himself.
After scoring the winner, Balotelli didn’t celebrate. He didn’t even smile, just looked at his team-mates and hugged Adam Lallana, before later giving them the thumbs up. He would go on to post a picture on Instagram of himself smiling when in the car on his way home, and left a message for his fans to thank them for sticking by him during his difficult run in front of goal.
Since his £16m move from AC Milan last summer, Balotelli has scored just three times, with his first two goals coming in the Champions League and Capital One Cup before last night’s strike opened his Premier League account.
He wrote to his fans: “Great game guys!!! This smile is ONLY for those that always Belive [sic] and support me. Thank you . and Forza Liverpool. But now head down and keep working hard. Tonight is past.”
However, one observer clearly wasn’t impressed with his lack of a celebration. Former Manchester United defender turned TV commentator Phil Neville blasted Balotelli for not celebrating the match-winner, and was equally as unimpressed with his disappearance down the tunnel as soon as the full-time whistle was blown.
Neville, who was working for NBC, said that “Balotelli will either win you the game or lose you the game”, and added that his decision not to smile in the aftermath of the goal was “not great”.
Despite this, Balotelli could well be rewarded for his goalscoring cameo with a rare start against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round this weekend, with the Reds currently the third-highest ranked side left in the tournament.Reuse content