City fans deserve greater respect

Mario Balotelli has risked the wrath of Manchester City fans after claiming that he does not like the city and is homesick, echoing comments made by teammate Carlos Tevez earlier this year. Balotelli is yet to establish himself as a fan favourite at Eastlands, and these remarks are just the most recent in a chain of controversial events that seem to have dominated his career as a footballer.

Whilst Balotelli insists “everything is fine” with regards to playing for Manchester City, his comments about the city will have undoubtedly upset a vast number of Mancunian’s, both blue and red. Unlike Tevez, Balotelli did not discuss his dislikes in any detail, but merely claimed that the city is not to his “tastes”. Manchester may not have the same culture or weather as say, Milan, but it is still ‘home’ for the City fans, who will almost certainly feel disgruntled over Balotelli’s apparent lack of respect for this.

As if this was not enough, the Italian then went on to discuss his future, and insisted that “one day” he would like to join AC Milan. At 20-years-old it would perhaps be unreasonable to expect the forward to remain a City player for the rest of his career, however it is certainly not unreasonable to expect him to respect his contract and the club by not discussing his future so openly, having only been at the club for a year.

Balotelli seems to insist on presenting himself as the “bad boy” of football, and his apparent arrogance and immaturity both on and off the field has overshadowed the talent that we are led to believe he possesses. In his first year in English football Balotelli managed to score just 6 goals in 17 league appearances, including a hat trick against Aston Villa back in December. This record is hardly prolific, and though we have seen glimpses of brilliance from the Italian, it is fair to say he still has a lot to do to prove himself as one of the best forwards in the league.

Balotelli on the other hand, believes that only Messi “is a little stronger” than him when it comes to ability on the field, and that “all the others are behind”. When he joined City he claimed not to know who Jack Wilshere was, but that he would “show him the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it”. It is these kind of remarks that have made him such an unpopular figure in English football, but Balotelli continues to be seemingly unfazed by what the fans think, even his own.

Whilst Carlos Tevez’s comments about Manchester and his outspoken desire to leave the club will have upset a number of City fans, his performances and work-rate on the pitch week-in week-out will have gone some way towards their acceptance of his inevitable departure. Mr Baloltelli plays with an air of arrogance about him, rarely displaying any signs of enjoyment, and is so casual at times you would think he had better things to be doing. The only time we really see any emotion from the forward seems to be when he is substituted, and his outburst at Mancini in a friendly against LA Galaxy a week or so ago exemplified this perfectly. Taken off for attempting a back-heel when through on goal, Balotelli reacted as though he had done nothing wrong.

Whilst it is obvious that he must change his attitude if he is to become a fan favourite at Eastlands, Balotelli seems so uninterested and indifferent when it comes to being ‘liked’, that this “bad boy” attitude is almost certain to continue for the foreseeable future. If (and it is a big ‘if’), the Italian can prove himself to be ‘ahead’ of everyone else in the league, then City fans will almost certainly become less concerned with what he thinks about their city, and English weather. For now, Balotelli should probably watch his tongue a little more carefully – especially whilst the City faithful are the only fans not to have turned on the youngster.

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