I don’t live in Manchester. I don’t support Manchester City. Nor do I have any Italian blood coursing through my veins. Yet I absolutely love Mario Balotelli . Just when you think he has mellowed out, and is becoming a professional he will do something remarkably stupid and remind you he is Super Mario. In this article I will examine the reasons why we the Premier League has fallen in love with the enigma that is Mario Balotelli .
A journalist’s dream, Balotelli is not afraid to speak his opinion, even when it might result in him facing disciplinary action. He is as eccentric as he is talented, and put together it makes him an intriguing and affable footballer. His rise to prominence is unique, born to Ghanaian immigrants in Palermo he was fostered by the Balotelli family and took their name. Being a black Italian who has risen to prominence it has not been a big surprise to see him face racial abuse from Italian fans.
The most high profile example would be during a 1-1 draw with Juventus where the Juventus fans chanted ‘a black Italian doesn’t exist’ at Balotelli. It is this bizarre upbringing and the unique challenges ‘Super Mario’ has faced which have turned him into such an eccentric character. Balotelli ensured he wouldn’t last long at Inter Milan when he wore the shirt of arch rivals AC Milan on national TV, yet this was to be to the gain of the Premier League as Roberto Mancini signed him for Manchester City.
Upon signing for Manchester City for around £24 million, Mancini assured the Manchester City fans by stating:
‘He is a strong and exciting player, and City fans will enjoy watching him.’
He wasn’t wrong there, if Mario Balotelli is anything, he’s exciting. He’s been worth every penny for Manchester City as the club has made the Champions League for the first time, and after a Man of the Match performance in the final, the first trophy for 35 years.
Yet, despite this fantastic talent, it is off the pitch where Balotelli really comes into his own. He is completely insane, and it is essential viewing. Driving a child from the training ground to confront his bully, throwing water balloons at FIFA delegates and driving around Manchester in his Bentley high-fiving City fans. The man is hilarious, and brings the fun back into football. He’s wonderfully unprofessional, and brings discussion from those who don’t care or follow football.
The reaction in every pub to Balotelli’s t shirt asking the question ‘Why Always Me?’ was one of pure hilarity. Let’s remember that football is a game, and we want characters to entertain us. Imagine watching a team with its most entertaining character being Michael Owen , there would be no entertainment, and this is what Balotelli gives us – a welcome relief.
There is one more improvement for Balotelli to make, and that is to get on Twitter, as that would be fantastic viewing.
Article courtesy of George McNeil from This is Futbol