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Liverpool Legend Kenny Dalglish Defends Struggling Striker Mario Balotelli Over Real Madrid Shirt Swap Debacle

Kenny Dalglish is hopeful that Mario Balotelli will come good for Liverpool…

Legendary Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish has spoken out in defence of struggling centre forward Mario Balotelli, who he claims did not mean any disrespect in his half-time shirt swap with Real Madrid defender Pepe in mid-week.

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Reports in the Daily Mail explain that the Italian was substituted, and later criticised by Brendan Rodgers following the Reds’ 3-0 Champions League defeat, but Dalglish has responded by claiming that Balotelli doesn’t understand British culture.

Dalglish said: “He didn’t mean any disrespect. Some people seem to have interpreted him swapping shirts as a gesture of defiance towards the club because he was going to be substituted. That’s absurd.”

Dalglish cited Balotelli’s stint away from England as a potential reason for the misunderstanding. Shirt swapping at half-time, according to the former Liverpool manager, is common on the continent.

“The culture has changed now, particularly abroad. Players like to swap shirts. It’s not unusual for them to do it at half-time. I don’t really see the problem with it.

“Swapping shirts at half-time is not part of English football’s culture but my guess is Mario Balotelli didn’t know that. Pepe asked him to swap shirts anyway. It wasn’t as if Mario initiated it.”

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