‘Three strikes and you’re out’, they say, and while that is a promise one can imagine troubled striker Mario Balotelli has heard a lot throughout his career, it seems Liverpool even had it written it into his contract.
However, it was not a threat of expulsion that Balotelli was threatened with when he agreed to the clause, but the forfeit of a £1 million bonus.
According to The Sunday Times, Balotelli’s Liverpool contract states that he would receive such a bonus if he behaves himself on the field - not spitting at anyone or being offensive, but he gets two free goes at it each year just in case.
The newspaper reports that the deal says: “If during each season of the term of this contract the player is not dismissed from the field of play on three or more occasions for violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or any other person, for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures and/or for dissent by word or action . . . then on the 30th June at the end of each season he shall receive a bonus payment of £1m.”
With a salary apparently totalling £85,000 per week plus £25,000 for each of his first five goals in the Premier League or in European competition, which then becomes £50,000 extra per goal, it seems Liverpool had belief in Balotelli.
However, the former Manchester City and Inter forward managed to score just one in each of those, making just 24 appearances in all competitions. He received a few yellow cards, but was never sent off.
Balotelli spent the following season on loan at AC Milan, but was unable to make anything of his career at Liverpool and opted to join Nice for the current campaign on a free transfer.
Meanwhile, the newspaper also points out the contracts of Rafael van der Vaart upon his move to Betis, which stipulated that, as long as red – the colour of arch rivals Sevilla – was not evident, he would be allowed to wear whatever sports shoes he wished.
Daniel Agger, meanwhile, apparently agreed with Brondby in 2014 that he would be given an advert at the side of the pitch for all home games.