Disgruntled Liverpool fans ditch Balotelli shirts

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Irish bookmaker Paddy Power opened a 'Mario Swap Shop' outside Liverpool's Anfield ground on Saturday. Photo: Paddy Power
09:43 CET+01:00
Liverpool fans, unhappy with Italian striker Mario Balotelli’s performance since he joined the club, queued on Saturday to swap shirts featuring the footballer’s name with “real” Liverpool stars.

Supporters spent an estimated €63,425 (GBP 50,000) on the shirts back in August, when Balotelli transferred to the club from AC Milan in a €20 million deal.

But despite a promising debut, Balotelli offended fans during a game against Real Madrid last Wednesday, when he swapped his shirt at half-time with the Spanish side’s defender, Pepe.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power then seized on the marketing opportunity to open a ‘Mario Swap Shop’ outside Liverpool’s Anfield ground on Saturday morning, giving fans the chance to swap their Balotelli shirts for those featuring the names of "real" Liverpool stars, including Ian Rush and Michael Owen.

Supporters reportedly "queued around the terraced houses" to exchange their shirts with the news ones, which were provided for free by Paddy Power.

“You can understand why the Liverpool fans are getting shirty,” Paddy Power said in a statement.

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“The performances have been less Super Mario and more Luigi. The lack of goals wouldn’t be quite as frustrating if he made more of an effort. We stepped in as it seems only fair that if Balotelli doesn’t want his shirt, fans shouldn’t have to keep on going round with his name on their backs.”

Balotelli has scored just once for Liverpool since joining the club.

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