Why always him?
It is said people condemn what they don’t understand. People find it hard to understand Mario Balotelli, so he has been condemned. People began to understand at the back of last season and during his commendable Euro 2012 displays, but since then, Balotelli’s candle has dwindled. People have gone from almost accepting, to condemning again.
He’s different. Just, too different.
From the minute the Palermo-born striker attended an interview sporting the colours of AC Milan whilst being an Inter player, Balotelli has always magnetised controversy. Practicing his darts at youth team players probably wasn’t one of his finer moments, nor was setting fireworks off in his house but surely if he as explosive on the pitch as he was in his bathroom, all his exuberant antics would be forgiven?
But the stats tell a sobering story. With four red cards since arriving at the Etihad in 2010, the firework-lighting, dart-throwing, Micah Richards-fighting loony Premier League personality has just one solitary goal this season in 13 thirteen appearances, and when you’re competing for places with Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko, that’s not a sufficient return. Roberto Mancini’s preference of utilising the nimble and busy Argentinean duo of Aguero and Tevez has not helped Super Mario’s cause but when he had the chances to cement a first XI place, he has not taken them.
According to sqawka.com, Mario Balotelli has been subbed on or off in 92.4% of games this season and has a measly 24% shot accuracy - daunting inconsistency when pitted against Tevez (55%), Dzeko (52%) and Aguero (57%). Even Balotelli’s team play has been inadequate; he has created just seven goal scoring chances for Manchester City compared to Tevez’ 34 and Aguero’s 28. But when the dust settles, being a striker, you are chosen by your strike rate: Mario Balotelli has averaged one goal every 13 appearances so far this campaign, ‘super-sub’ Dzeko has an average of a goal every two appearances, Tevez a goal every 2.7 and Aguero a goal every 2.3 City outings.
It seems Balotelli’s off-field shenanigans will not shroud his lack of threat on a football field but like every tale, there are two sides.
How many times have we seen managers caught in the limelight for the wrong reasons? Tony Pulis aiming a naked headbutt James Beattie’s way in 2009, Sir Alex Ferguson kicking a boot at David Beckham are all examples so maybe we are all being caught in a web of rumours and unnecessary media coverage on this squabble.
What about Roberto Mancini’s role in this unfavourable fracas?
The Italian is beset with superfluous issues on all sides: out of Europe with a whimper, seven points behind neighbours Manchester United in the title race and with notorious duo of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola likely to be on the prowl for jobs come the summer, the heat on Mancini doesn’t look set to wane any time soon.
Mario Balotelli is another dilemma that still persists.
Mancini likes to portray himself as a father figure to Balotelli and like all father-son relationships, there comes some hitches, most notably the power struggle. The rising of authority when a boy becomes a man, the air of supremacy when the young man decides he feels he is ready to step into his father’s shoes. Balotelli has never had anyone stand up against him or attempt to manage him before and at times, it seems Mancini is fighting a losing battle.
Pictures tell a thousand words. Though, the static images that have been released on Mancini and Balotelli’s confrontation cannot tell the whole tale. Without defending either man or claiming Mancini was just helping Balotelli with his bib, despite previous problems in this department, there is a feeling of discontent at City, enhanced by this embarrassing engagement.
Mancini said of the incident: “The problems are because of his age. He can make some mistakes. He’s Mario. He’s crazy — but I love him because he’s a good guy.” He certainly has an odd way of showing his love, or maybe he doesn’t. His persistence and patience with Mario coupled with his chunk of blame for the altercation, is likely to see it largely glossed over as ‘one of those things with Mario’ and join the ever-growing list of Mario’s outlandish antics.
Roberto Mancini is correct in what he says though. He is crazy, he is Mario and the problems are because of his age. So when are we going to see the real Mario Balotelli? The Balotelli who is more known for his goals than nonchalantly crashing previous clubs press conferences; the Balotelli who is noted for fulfilling his so raved potential than fighting in a curry house with rolling pins. When he is 26? 28?
One thing is for sure, Mancini’s patience will soon reach the end of its tether and there will be no more final chances. Mario has to choose between Super Mario or Stupid Mario, because he cannot be both.
I just don’t understand Balotelli, but I won’t condemn him. That’s not up to me. But when push comes to shove, he really has reached the point where he is more trouble than he is worth.
All stats from http://www.squawka.com/