Massimo Cellino and Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli (right) was unveiled in August by Brescia owner Massimo Cellino but he has only scored two goals in eight appearances

Mario Balotelli can leave Brescia on a free transfer in January because he is not suited to a relegation scrap, says the club’s president Massimo Cellino.

Balotelli, 29, has only scored twice and suffered racist abuse in a Serie A match away to Hellas Verona.

“In January, he can leave on a free. In this moment, he needs to choose which road is best for him,” said Cellino.

The president also sacked manager Fabio Grosso after three games and reappointed predecessor Eugenio Corini.

Balotelli, the ex-Manchester City and Liverpool forward, arrived in the summer from Marseille but he has only managed two goals in his eight appearances.

Now Cellino, the former Leeds United owner, has said in an interview on Italian television that he will not stand in Balotelli’s way if he wants to leave in the transfer window.

“Mario is sad because he is unable to play his game,” he said.

“Fighting for survival in Serie A requires a huge sacrifice and and perhaps he thought it would be much more simple.”

Cellino’s latest comments come after Balotelli was dropped last month by Grosso, who challenged the forward to show more “determination and enthusiasm” to regain his place in the side.

When asked why Balotelli had been dropped, ex-Leeds United owner Cellino said: “What can I say? That he’s black and he’s working to whiten himself but he has great difficulties in this.”

Brescia said Cellino’s comments over the dropping of Balotelli were “a joke said as a paradox” that was “clearly misunderstood”.

Brescia are bottom of Serie A with seven points from 13 matches and Grosso, who scored the winning penalty for Italy in the 2006 World Cup final, lost all three games, with the team scoring none and conceding ten.

Cellino, nicknamed the ‘manager-eater’ for his churn of managers, has had six in two-and-a-half years at Brescia, after he employed seven at Leeds between January 2014 and June 2017.

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