Balotelli and Cassano should move to Qatar – Zola

The former Chelsea forward believes a spell in the Middle East would help the Liverpool player regain some stability and allow him to return to Europe as a star

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli and former Real Madrid attacker Antonio Cassano have been urged to move to Qatar to continue their careers by Al Arabi coach Gianfranco Zola.

Balotelli looks to be heading for the exit at Anfield after a dismal first season with Brendan Rodgers’ team in which he scored just one goal in 16 Premier League appearances. The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Sampdoria, though Massimo Ferrero says he is unwilling to match Liverpool’s reported asking price of €10 million (£7 million) to purchase him.

Cassano, on the other hand, who has also been linked with Sampdoria, is a free agent after leaving Parma in January and is still looking for a new club.

Zola, who took over at Qatar Stars League club Al Arabi earlier in July, reckons a stint in the Middle East could give Balotelli and Cassano a stress-free period to focus on football and regain confidence.

“Balotelli and Cassano are two top players, and moving to Qatar could be an excellent opportunity for them to play in a league with less scrutiny, recharge their batteries, and return to Europe as protagonists,” he told Sky Sports Italia.

But the former Italy international would struggle to sign either of his compatriots if they are interested, as Al Arabi already have seven foreign players on their books – the maximum allowed in the league.

“We are crowded but if I had the opportunity to sign them, I would not give it a second thought,” Zola said.

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