Fiery Italian striker Mario Balotelli had a million pound (1.2m euros, $1.3m) good behaviour clause written into his contract when he moved to Liverpool in 2014, the Sunday Times revealed.
The 26-year-old — whose move to Liverpool raised questions about then manager Brendan Rodgers’ judgement and proved a disaster — would lose the good behaviour bonus if he were sent off three or more times in a season.
So the player who was well-known for erratic behaviour at previous clubs could afford two red cards say for spitting at opponents but would lose out financially if he saw red a third time.
Balotteli didn’t last very long at Liverpool once Jurgen Klopp replaced Rodgers last season and is now in the less glamorous French Ligue 1 with leaders Nice where he moved to on a free transfer last August.
“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,” read the clause in his contract revealed by Football Leaks website.
Rodgers and Liverpool showered Balotelli with bonus offers including £50,000 a goal once he passed five in the Premier League or Champions League in a season… a sweetener that came to nothing as he scored just once in 16 appearances for them.
Liverpool aren’t the only Premier League side offering substantial carrots to their already well-paid players — Balotelli was on £85,000 a week regardless of his behaviour or scoring feats.
Tottenham Hotpsur pay French international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris a match bonus of £3,500 even if they lose or draw.
“Should Tottenham Hotspur draw or lose a competitive match and the player makes an appearance in the starting 11 then the player will be paid £3,500,” reads the clause in Lloris’s contract when he signed in 2012.
However, a Spurs spokesman told The Sunday Times it is:”An appearance fee which doubled if we won the game. He does . . . receive double the fee if he wins.”