Love him or hate him, rate him or slate him, Mad Mario is certainly a fan’s dream. Not only does he provide headlines with his on the pitch form – which has been nothing short of scintillating at the minute – but he is front page gold off the field. I find myself reading about his activities away from the pitch and thinking surely not – and then seeing confirmation of what I have just read.
For a player that Jose Mourinho described as ‘unmanageable’ Mancini seems to be doing a remarkable job of getting the best out of Balotelli of late – the only explanation Mancini can offer is that he has a son of Mario’s age, and the two are close, which helps him understand the Italian striker better.
Whatever the case, Balotelli certainly has the potential to be the star of City’s season, something that seemed as plausable after his temper tantrum against LA Galaxy as Torres winning the golden boot award. Whilst the latter is too unlikley to happen even in Nando’s wildest dreams, Balotelli has shown consistent ability and has not only been scoring goals, but creating them and being an altogether positive influence for City since the debacle at Bayern Munich – something they may well now look back on and be grateful for.
Who would’ve thought that the player that would stand up and be counted after such a fateful night would be a boy that can not only be described as not just one egg short of a dozen but 11 short.
Before the biggest league game of the season for City, Mario inflicted £400,000 worth of damage on his bathroom at his new home – which he moved to seeking a quieter life. Despite this, the boy managed to score in the derby and has been nothing short of world class ever since. In addition to his on the field achievements, young Balotelli can add having one of the fastest selling T Shirts in the city too – replicas of his now infamous ‘why always me’ shirt seem to be on every Manchester corner and are selling as many as Chelsea are conceding these days – too many!
On the field it is true to say the player could one day reach the levels of a Ronaldo, and at 21 Balotelli looks more than equal to both Ronaldo and Messi at the same age. During his time in Italy, the racial abuse the player received was nothing short of stomach churning, and this coupled with a troubled early life before his adoption goes some way to explaining why at times, Balotelli can appear slightly off the norm.
Of course, he is still a 21 year old lad with all the talent in the world- not to mention fame and money, and when you compare what he is doing to what players such as Gascoigne or Adams who battled addiction issues, Balotelli having ‘girlfriends’ plural is not the worst thing in the world.
In England we love a character, and Balotelli is certainly one of those – whilst having to testify against the Italian Mafia or visiting women’s prisons may be slightly too far, we love hearing such stories, and it is players like the Italian who are a revelation to the game in an era where players are so sheltered and guarded in interviews, it is nice to see such an eccentric individual.
City fans will certainly not be complaining, and after Mario drove around the city centre high fiving fans following the derby victory – I can only imagine what he will do if they win the title come May, but it is something that I cannot wait to see. Yes he may be mad, but City fans would not have him any other way – and let’s face it, neither would we.
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