After Suarez left in the summer of 2014, Liverpool were in desperate need of a striker. After a curious turn of events which saw former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers frankly say that “we [Liverpool FC] are not interested in Balotelli” and of course Balotelli’s arrival at Anfield from Milan for $25million. At the time of his arrival and now, I am a huge fan of Mario. Balotelli’s career at Liverpool however, was unfortunately a failure. Now that he has come and gone to Nice, he has stated that this was the worst decision of his life. Let’s consider some other decisions that Mario has made.
During his spell at Manchester City in 2012, he went to a strip club two nights before a game. Roberto Mancini, the manager of Man. City at the time, had a rule which stated players couldn’t go out on the town 48 hours or less from a game; this is exactly what Balotelli did. This can only be described as immature in itself and disrespectful to Mancini. This isn’t that crazy, as everyone slips up sometimes. However, Mario has also accidentally burned his bathroom down when shooting fireworks from his window. I have sat here for at least an hour trying to think of a possible motive for doing something like this, and there just simply isn’t a single one. Adding onto his antics off the field, he has showed questionable judgement on it as well. An example of this being when he got sent off for something similar to a karate kick on an opposition player. He also once scored an own goal from halfway in training for Liverpool.
Mario has also accidentally burned his bathroom down when shooting fireworks from his window. I have sat here for at least an hour trying to think of a possible motive for doing something like this, and there just simply isn’t a single one.
Lastly, Balotelli famously missed a “sitter” against LA Galaxy in a preseason match for City by trying an elaborate “roulette-esque” shot. He was rightly subbed off straight after (ironically for James Milner, another future Liverpool player). Clearly, we can see that Mario has made some shocking decisions in his life on and off the field, so his judgement certainly isn’t the best.
Mario claimed that a contributing factor to this being the worst decision of his life was the managers he worked with. He and his agent (Mino Raiola) alike slammed Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers for their treatment of him, and Mario blatantly stated that he didn’t like them. Kolo Toure, somewhat of a cult hero during his time at Anfield, was quick to praise his former and new boss Brendan Rodgers when first arriving at Celtic. He was quoted as saying that “for me, he [Brendan Rodgers] is one of the best.” Luis Suarez, the striker that Balotelli was tasked with replacing, has quite the opposite opinion on his former boss Brendan, even saying that he made him the player he is today, and he is quite the player.
For Jurgen, countless players have praised him. Steven Gerrard, who attended some training sessions with the first team under Jurgen, praised Jurgen for his assertive “My way or the highway” approach. Ian St. John, an ex-Liverpool player from the famed Shankly era, said “He’s enthusiastic, which is great.” He also noted that “the players are working hard and the class players stand out, which is what it’s all about.” One might say that these two, despite their legendary status, don’t know the full story as they haven’t actually played under Klopp. Jordan Henderson however, poses a similar stance on the Liverpool boss, stating that “you can see the belief within the team and within the fans” after Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool. Balotelli’s opinions on the managers he worked with are all but unpopular.
So maybe it wasn’t the manager or the team or the tactics. Maybe it was Mario himself. There are several documented instances of him being stubborn and showing dissent towards his managers and even fellow players, such as refusing to come back and defend a corner, or taking a penalty off of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson in a crucial Europa League tie (although he scored in the end, Henderson was the designated penalty taker for that game). If anything is certain about his peculiar situation, it is that he needs to change his ways and get back on track; it looks like he is doing just that at Nice, having netted an impressive two goals on his Ligue 1 debut. Hopefully he can resume what was once considered an extremely promising career and perform where he belongs, at the highest level possible.
Jackson Tarricone, TFN Columnist on 22/09/2016 at 12:45
Follow Jackson on Twitter @JoeAllen2ft8