Mario Balotelli was once again given a chance and the player once again blew it. One of the talking points from Balotelli’s involvement during the recent Manchester derby was the manner in which he stormed down the tunnel after rightly being hooked.
At first it was funny. At first it seemed like this might be a talent whose edginess might give English football something more than just on-field discussion. But now it’s just getting boring.
Who’s trying to convince who? Is the player still convinced he’s only surpassed by Lionel Messi in terms of quality? That may be so (it isn’t), but when was the last time we saw something truly inspirational from Balotelli?
Lionel Messi just broke a 40-year-old record. Cristiano Ronaldo recently gave an excellent performance to shine brightest in a star-filled Madrid derby. Balotelli was so awful in his most recent match that he didn’t last an hour.
Maybe those stories about walking into schools to use the facilities and driving around Manchester high-fiving people were just a decoy. Maybe there isn’t anything really in there for the player. How old is he? 22? He’s hardly a boy, he looks like a fully developed athlete who could become a headline act in the WWE. Yet annoyingly he remains a selfish child who doesn’t know what’s good for him.
Jose Mourinho was bang on about the player when both were at Inter Milan: he’s unmanageable. And who would want to manage a player like that? An exciting talent but one who has no sense of responsibility or desire to do something better.
Let’s ask the question again: when was the last time Balotelli put forward a really outstanding performance? Euro 2012 against Germany. And how much are Italy paying him?
It’s not funny anymore, in fact it’s hard to see when it was amusing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the player backs up his arrogance, confidence and swagger wherever he goes. Maybe there’s a difference in that Zlatan is a regular in any team he goes to, whereas Balotelli has never been given a regular run in a team at any club he’s been in. But from the little impact we’ve seen from the player, is there any surprise?
Balotelli is a player who has never had to work for anything, even as a youngster learning his trade. He was involved in a big money move across Europe, given more money than he’s probably worth and is now living in the expectancy that he’s entitled to everything and more. What does the strop following his substitution signify? Doesn’t this country love hard work and passion from a footballer? You’ve got your flair players, too, but what exactly does Balotelli bring?
He’s undermined a manager whom he should be eternally grateful to. AC Milan might try and take him back to Italy, but would any other club in Europe even flirt with the idea of taking him in the immediate future? Would any other club even imagine to pay him the money Manchester City are forking out? That’s a particular argument for another day, but Mancini should have got rid a long time ago.
Perhaps the player’s most meaningful contribution this season is that penalty under pressure against Borussia Dortmund. Impressive as it was, where are the other points to add to the list?
You’d liked to have thought that Euro 2012 and his responsibilities with Italy were a turning point for the player, a chance to show that he can grow up quickly and have a stronger mentality that warrants his current status in football. But that was it, that was the last time we ever really saw the genuine talent of the player.
Mario Balotelli will never be seen to perform for the shirt he wears, he’s a mercenary who’ll gladly cross a divide between two rivals if it means he’s the focal point of discussion.
Maybe this is seen as an unfair attack on the player. Yet maybe that’s the assumption from the person who claims to be bored with Lionel Messi. Either way, with one you’ve got a role model, the generation’s best and perhaps the greatest we’ve seen. The other is just a pretender who wants to be more than he is but never had it in him to go the distance.