Mario Balotelli feels he is slowly starting to silence his doubters after getting back among the goals in AC Milan’s 3-2 win over Udinese on Tuesday.
The Italy international was the subject of plenty of negative headlines in 2014-15, as he failed to make an impact at Liverpool after joining the club from the San Siro side.
After a hugely disappointing spell in the Premier League, he returned to Serie A on a one-year loan deal this close-season, and is now determined to prove his critics wrong.
“I am slowly getting my revenge,” Balotelli told Sky Sport Italia after opening the scoring against Udinese with a free-kick.
“Everybody in England and Italy has done nothing but criticising Mario Balotelli in recent years.
“But I worked hard for the team again, like I always do. It was a tough game, because my opponents were out to provoke me.”
Balotelli was booked in the 15th minute for a challenge on Ali Adnan, and he insisted that he could have been even more effective had it not been for that mark against his name.
“I think the referee’s decision to give me a yellow card was not fair,” he added. “It ruined my game a bit, because I had to hold back.”
Milan were 3-0 up at half-time following goals from Balotelli, Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristian Zapata, but Udinese nearly salvaged a draw after the break as they dominated proceedings in the second half.
Goals from Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Duvan Zapata gave the hosts a lifeline but they could not complete the comeback, with their hopes finally ended when Bruno Fernandes was sent off in injury time for a second booking.
“We were winning 3-0, but then we got careless,” Balotelli reflected. “We should not have let them get back in the game. We are a group of fighters, though.
“We conceded two silly goals, but we won. It was a complicated game, but an important result.”