Ex-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been slammed for his recent performance in the Swiss Super League by a former national team assistant coach.
The Premier League winner has been no stranger to criticism in the past, but this really represents a new low for a man once touted for great things.
Many expected Balotelli to achieve great things in his career, especially early success at both Inter Milan and Man City.
Since then, however, he has never been too far from a newspaper headline, be it for picking up a ridiculously large number of club fines or setting off fireworks in his own bathroom.
Where does Mario Balotelli play now?
After stints at French and Italian clubs and a short spell in Turkey with Adana Demirspor, Balotelli now finds himself playing his football in Switzerland’s top-flight with FC Sion.
It has not been a brilliant season for him by any means, with just six goals coming from 18 appearances and his side bottom of the Super League.
And even at 32, the striker still can’t seem to live a quiet life.
Back in September, footage captured Balotelli stumbling out of a bar and he then missed training after that.
He was then temporarily suspended for showing his middle finger to Basel supporters, later accusing the Swiss FA of “injustice, corruption and incapacity” on his Instagram story.
Supporters began to lose their temper with him later in the season, even burning his shirt after a defeat and targeting him with a banner due to his lack of contribution this season.
Balotelli slammed by top coach
Despite his issues off the field and poor performances, Balotelli remains Sion’s club captain!
But frustration with him has boiled over once again, as he has been slammed by a top coach in the game.
Sion were in action against Servette on the weekend, going on to lose the game 5-0.
They were three goals down after just nine minutes, with Balotelli’s ex-City teammate Gael Clichy scoring a wonder strike from the halfway line.
Balotelli was substituted at half-time by manager David Bettoni, who was then sacked by the club on Monday morning.
But former Switzerland assistant coach Michel Pont, who worked with the national team under Kobi Kuhn and Ottmar Hitzfeld for 13 years, has pinned Sion’s failings on their skipper.
“Sion have a zombie out on the pitch, and that is Mario Balotelli,” Pont said, as per The Sun. “He destroys everything.
“You could call their entire team zombies, but that is not true – he is the only one.
“It’s not possible for them to keep making him their captain. He ruins the atmosphere at the club.
“I’m sick to the back teeth with him. You can’t take the p*** out of an institution like FC Sion.
“Personally I can’t stand any more of Balotelli.
“Inside the club his teammates appreciate him, and he has a lot of sympathy, including from the coaching staff.
“But it’s three coaches now who have hit a brick wall with him.
“When your captain shows the sort of body language and attitude that Balotelli has shown, that is just too much.”
Harsh words indeed. But perhaps justified, given that Sion are in dire need of goals in their relegation battle.
Just one point separates Sion from safety. The club have played in the first tier ever since 2006 – a streak that neither they nor Balotelli will want to come to an end.