Global Sports : Gerrard: Balotelli Showed Disrespect

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Steven Gerrard accused Mario Balotelli of showing “disrespect” for taking the penalty duties off Reds captain Jordan Henderson in Liverpool’s 1-0 Europa League win over Besiktas.
Balotelli tucked away the spot kick to earn the hosts a narrow first-leg lead in their last 32 encounter, but only after an apparent disagreement with Henderson, the captain on the night, and Daniel Sturridge over who would take it.
Gerrard, who is injured, and normally much less outspoken, openly criticised Balotelli for his behaviour.
“Jordan should have taken the penalty. Rules are rules. It should have been Henderson. Mario has been a bit mischievous,” Gerrard told ITV.
“Credit to Mario, he’s scored, but it’s not nice to see when footballers are arguing.
“I think Jordan has handled the situation very well. He can see that Mario really wanted to score.
“Jordan walked away at the right moment and handled his post-match interview very well.
“Jordan is the captain and Mario showed Jordan a bit of disrespect there, but he’s scored a very important goal. I think six or seven players would have wanted to take that penalty so if they all say they are taking it, what happens then? Rules are in place for a reason.”
Henderson tried to play down the disagreement after the match, and insisted he was happy with the way it panned out.
“I wanted the penalty, Mario felt confident and he has taken big penalties before,” Henderson said.
“Everyone wants to take them. I felt confident in Mario, he has taken big penalties before and he got the nod.”
Balotelli also tried defuse the furore by turning to social media to insist there was no problem.
“Thank you Hendo for let me take the penalty. Stop drama now. We won that’s what it count,” Balotelli tweeted.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher also turned to social media to give his views, and backed the Italian for stepping forward.
“It was obvious Sturridge was supposed to take it and looked a little peeved along with Henderson, but at that moment the best penalty taker Liverpool had on the pitch was Balotelli as we’ve seen with his spot kicks for Man City,” Carragher said.
“So in this instance I was ok with it because the main penalty taker wasn’t on the pitch in Gerrard.”
He later tweeted: “Also just heard it was Henderson supposed to be on them not Sturridge, more reason for Mario to take it!!!”

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