London: Liverpool signed Italy striker Mario Balotelli from AC Milan on Monday for a reported $26.5 million, taking a calculated gamble on a headline-grabbing player known as much for his controversies as his goals.
Nineteen months after ending a 2 1/2-year spell with Manchester City to play for his boyhood club, Balotelli will return to the English Premier League as a replacement for Luis Suarez.
“I’m happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake,” Balotelli said in a Liverpool statement.
“I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake.”
Balotelli, who has signed what Liverpool said is a “long-term deal,” has already trained at his new club.
Liverpool have been looking to strengthen its strikeforce after selling Suarez to Barcelona for $130 million but left it to the last week of the transfer window to secure one of the summer’s most high-profile and intriguing signings.