- By Jonathan Molik – United States correspondent & TFN columnist
Everyone knows Mario Balotelli is the man who can’t keep his mouth shut, can’t put on a onesie and isn’t the best at football. Now I’m here to investigate has he always been this poor and has football been a wrong career choice for the Italian.
Mario Balotelli born Mario Barwuah was born August 12, 1990 in Palmero, Sicily. At the age of three he went into foster care and was adopted by the Balotelli family. On his 18th birthday he officially became an Italian citizen. Mario was constantly a trouble in school but had a passion for football.
Mario began his club career at Lumezzane at the age of 15. After making his first team debut he got offered a trial at Barcelona but didn’t make the most of it and got rejected before he signed with Inter Milan. Mario had a phenomenal beginning with Inter Milan until his temper and personality got the best of him. He quickly made a bad impression on manager Jose Mourinho and in January 2009 was dropped out of the first team after a “lack of effort”. Through all of this he was the subject to racial abuse from Juventus fans which I believe was the cause of his constant anger but no excuse for the lack of effort. The final straw was after the 2010 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Following the game Inter fans booed Balotelli so he took his kit off and threw it on the ground and was never seen in a Inter shirt again. Mario finished his career with Inter with goals 28 in 86 games. Nothing outstanding for a player of his talent.
Following his time at Inter Milan, Mario moved to Manchester City for a fee of $27,000,000. City boss Roberto Mancini was thrilled with his new signing and stated “His style of play will suit the Premier League, and because he is still so young there is a big chance for him to improve. He is a strong and exciting player, and City fans will enjoy watching him.” Mario made his debut in the Europa League against Politehnica Timisoara coming on and scoring the winner but unfortunately injured himself sidelining him for a month after having surgery. The following season was when the trouble began as Mario accumulated four red cards and a total of 9 games out suspended. Roberto lost his patience and decided not to play Mario for the rest of the campaign until he came on as a sub against QPR in the final game of the season and set up Sergio Aguero to score the goal to win the Premier League. That was Balotelli’s only assist in the Premier League. Balotelli left the Etihad with 30 goals in 80 appearances again not what you expect to see from a player rated so highly.
Following his spell in Manchester, Mario moved to AC Milan for a fee of $25,000,000 in January 2013. Mario had a dream reception from the Milan fans and really proved he wanted to be impress by scoring 12 goals in his first 13 games. Including a goal against Siena to help the team qualify for the 2013-2014 Champions League. Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end especially for Milan fans as Balotelli was sold to Liverpool on August 25, 2014 for $20,000,000. He was hailed by Liverpool fans as a fantastic signing and he scored his first goal on September 16 against Ludogorets in the Champions League and his second in the League Cup against Swansea. A bad spell followed and he only netted one Premier League goal for the Reds all season. Speculation has mounted all summer that he could exit Anfield before the start of the new season.
Now for my opinion on all of this, Balotelli should never have left Italy to play abroad as Italians traditionally not performed away from the Serie A. Secondly he should of stayed out of media trouble and not made himself subject to criticism. Thirdly I feel he should present himself as a Center Forward not a Striker. I think Mario Balotelli is flat out lazy and is trying to become a player he isn’t capable of being. He thinks he can run rampant and dribble like a Brazilian but in reality he can’t. He is 6 feet and 3 inches tall and built like a steam engine. What is so hard for him to realise is all he has to do is post up with his back to the defender, hold up the ball and distribute to a winger making a run in behind. Then spin off the defender and prepare yourself for the cross. Yes it is easier said than done but at the same time it really isn’t. If you play a false 9 with Mario at CF and play counter attacking football, you send the ball up to him, he holds up the play and distributes to a winger making the run. With the recent signing of Christian Benteke you’d have to wonder if Mario’s time on Merseyside is up.
So tell me what you think. Is Balotelli worthy of being in the Premier League? Should he go back to Italy? Tweet me your thoughts @italianmolik!