Former Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert reveals his ex-Reds teammate Mario Balotelli used to score own goals in training when he was in a bad mood.
Lambert joined his boyhood club Liverpool in 2014 after scoring 117 goals in 235 appearances for Southampton. He played the 2014/15 season at the Merseyside club and made 36 appearances in all competitions, scoring three times.
One of his teammates was former Inter, Man City and Milan striker Balotelli. The 39-year-old recalls how the Italy international did not take training seriously.
“He was a good lad, childish but infectious,” Lambert said on
“But as soon as he stepped on the training pitch he became a different person.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. At first, he gave everything when he played. But in training, I could tell he wasn’t giving his all. He was answering Brendan [Rodgers] back and my head went with that.
“The fact that he was playing in front of me didn’t bother me at first, I thought ‘I’ll get myself in’ but just seeing the way he was in training, and then he was playing, it did affect me a little bit.”
Lambert admits he did not want to be in the same side as Balotelli in training because he would “ruin the session”.
He added: “My head went with him in training and I had to go in and say to Brendan ‘don’t put me on his team again’. I think Stevie [Gerrard] had said the same.
His head would just go. If it wasn’t going his way, he would just ruin the session basically. He’d kick the ball away, score an own goal. I was speaking to Joe Hart and the lads at England and they were like ‘he was like that at City’. I’d ask them ‘how did he get away with it?’. They just shook their heads.
If you can’t finish games off why should you play in Europe? – Jurgen Klopp