Mario Balotelli has laughed off suggestions he has had sex just four hours before a game in order to improve his performance.
The Italian striker insists he is only focused on scoring on the pitch for Liverpool, saying he has matured since his last controversial spell in England with Manchester City, where an incident involving letting fireworks off in his house brought plenty of media attention.
Balotelli told Sport Magazine: ‘I have done mistakes in the past, like everybody did when they were young.
‘And the firework thing did happen, but it wasn’t me who let it off. I know England is like this, though, so it’s OK. It’s a shame, sure, but I get used to it – the newspapers are always trying to give an image of Mario that is bad, printing things that aren’t true.
‘Off the pitch, really I don’t have any problems because I am always home. When people speak bad about me, it’s only because they listen to the media and read what the newspapers say. They maybe lose a little bit of focus on my football, so everybody thinks I am famous for what happens outside the pitch.
‘Someone told me recently that I had apparently said that if I have sex three or four hours before a game, it is working for me on the pitch. Trust me, if I am having sex four hours before a game I am not able to play. I don’t think anyone could. It makes me laugh, but this is not me.
‘I am only focused on football. I live out in the countryside, I am relaxed and I just hope the time that I’m going to score is coming soon. Then maybe they will concentrate more on football and not all the other bull****.’
Balotelli revealed he is settling into life on Merseyside, although he admits he misses his native Italy – and his pet dogs in particular.
‘Of course I miss my family and friends in Italy,’ he continued.
‘But when I go back, I spend hours talking with my parents. Then I visit my friends and we do normal stuff – you know, playing PlayStation and ping pong. Then I pick up my dogs and we go for a walk.
‘They are really clever, my dogs. Lucky is unbelievable – when you look into her face, it is like you are with a real person. When I speak, she listens. I only have to say things one time. If I ask her for her paw, she gives it to me.If I say kiss, then she kisses me. I ask her to sit, she sits; I say she can run, she runs. Everything I ask her to do, she does.’