Cellino expects Balotelli to leave Brescia
Mario Balotelli is destined to leave hometown side Brescia after just one season, according to club president Massimo Cellino.
Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.
Brescia president Massimo Cellino expects Mario Balotelli to leave the club at the end of the season as the striker "no longer has his head with us."
Balotelli signed a three-year deal with hometown side Brescia last year but his time with the Serie A struggler has been plagued by numerous off-field issues.
The Italy international was involved in a training-ground spat with former head coach Fabio Grosso in November and was told he could leave the club in January after falling out with Cellino. He remained at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti but failed to score in six matches before the coronavirus-enforced shutdown and is reported to have skipped training on Tuesday.
And Cellino is anticipating a parting of the ways between Balotelli and Brescia, which is nine points from safety with 12 games to play.
"I try to avoid legal action and the Balotelli case was blown out of proportion because there's no football and little else to talk about," he told Telelombardia.
"He no longer has his head with us and I am taking his departure for granted. It's not necessarily different to what he's always done in his career – he's just a bit anarchic. His contract is automatically annulled in case of relegation into Serie B, so with all probability he'll be a free agent next season, considering our status."
Balotelli has five goals in 19 appearances for Brescia this season and Cellino acknowledges the high-profile move has not gone to plan.
"[Former boss] Eugenio Corini cared for him, he allowed some lateness to slide, a few training sessions at a low tempo. We are disappointed, perhaps he will be too," he added.
"We didn't sign Balotelli just as a media coup, we really did believe he could've given us an important contribution on the pitch.
"I thought, because I like him, that he could create something new for himself in Brescia. We are disappointed in him."