Former AC Milan forward Dejan Savicevic has questioned why the club took a “reckless bet” on Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli is set to start the second leg of Milan’s Coppa Italia semi-final at home to third-tier Alessandria on Tuesday as he attempts to kick-start an injury-hit loan spell and persuade the Rossoneri to make his move from Liverpool permanent at the end of the season.
Savicevic, the scorer of a memorable goal against Barcelona as Milan won the 1994 Champions League title, believes the Italy international has talent but feels his volatile temperament meant he was a risk the club should not have taken.
He told Corriere Dello Sport: “I honestly do not know why Milan decided to take him last summer. It was a decision made by the club that I struggle to understand.
“That’s not to say Balotelli is not a great striker but more the kind of guy he is…
“Milan thought they could change him. But I would expect a careful club like Milan not to make such a reckless bet that was so hard to win.”
Balotelli has scored twice in just 13 appearances in all competitions this season for a Milan side who are on an impressive run of one defeat in 18 games.
Despite their improvement under Sinisa Mihajlovic, Savicevic expects Juventus – who recently enjoyed a 15-game winning run in Serie A – to retain the Scudetto.
“They [Juve] have the best team with the greatest continuity,” he added. “Fifteen games in a row does not come by chance.
“In Maurizio Sarri, Napoli have an excellent coach but they dropped too many points they should not have done.
“But they went to the top with merit and can still grow over the coming seasons.
“Mihajlovic has done the best he could because he does not have the squad of Juve or Napoli. [Juve boss Massimiliano] Allegri has so many champions, while Sarri has three or four players that can make a difference.
“How many does Mihajlovic have? A couple maybe. But he is a great coach, the best possible for this Milan side. He will take them into Europe and will fight to the end to qualify for the Champions League.”
Savicevic is excited by goalkeeping prospect Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has cemented his place as the Milan number one, despite turning 17 just last week.
“He is like [Gianluigi] Buffon,” said Savicevic, who now serves as president of the Montenegrin Football Association. “Only Buffon had the same personality, that confidence and charisma at that age. When I see Donnarumma I forget he is only 17 years old. Milan have found one for the future.”
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