Above : The most Iconic image of the City striker
Unfortunately the end is here for Mario as he seals his move back to his native Italy with a deal speculate around €20 million including further add ons. this can leave City a bit out-of-pocket but I’m sure the media coverage around the club due to Mario has more than made up that difference. Personally I think he was one of the more colourful characters that our league had to offer and showed the occasional flash of brilliance, sadly he will be better known for his outrageous and sometimes humorous behaviour and the terrible disciplinary record which he carried. He was nothing more than the jester of the east lands.
Its time to look back at the crazy three-year career of the Italian striker in a City shirt.
A young eager Mario arrived in Manchester for a fee of €22 million linking back up with his former coach/estranged farther Roberto Mancini who said upon his arrival that “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.”
It took the striker a while to get into gear with his City career only really starting the October of the 2010/2011 season where he claimed his first two goals against West Brom, but sent off in the same game for violent conduct which set Balotelli circus into motion. On the pitch it was one of the quieter seasons for Mario but far from it away from the Etihad, with being in England for only a few days Mario writes off his imported Audi R8 and when questioned by the police why he had £5,000 in cash
in his car reportedly replying with“Because I am rich.”
Fast forward to March and Mario drops himself in hot water for throwing darts at a youth player with nobody being hurt and in the same month collecting his 2nd red card for his reckless challenge in the Europa League. In the next two months Balotelli seem to take shape of some sort of Robocop figure creating social harmony first handing £1000 worth of casino
winnings to a homeless man and then taking a schoolboy who was playing truant back to his school and personally giving a telling off to the boy’s bullies.
Even before the season began the Mancini/Balotelli relationship was on the rocks when he makes a laughable attempt at a back heel against LA Galaxy and was immediately substituted with his manager not looking over the moon with his player. October time saw the emergency services coming to his aid again when he decides to let off fireworks in his bathroom then having to front a safety campaign to cover his blunder. Back on the pitch Balotelli was causing chaos at Old Trafford with two goals in the famous 6-1 victory revealing his now historic ‘why always me ?’ shirt now everyone was talking Mario, but his discipline is still a monkey on his back claiming
his third red card and picking up a four match ban for a stamp on the head of Scott Parker. Balotelli again sees the red mist this time against Arsenal the game which almost cost City the title, but he restored faith within the fans and wrote himself in City folk-law simultaneously by setting up Aguero’s special winner on that dramatic last day sending the premier league title to the blue side of Manchester for the first time.
The last act within the drama started brightly for young Mario taking the euro 2012 semi final by storm with two brilliant and people believed that this could be the season we finally saw the real Balotelli. But the belief were all in vain as we were left underwhelmed with below par performances especially in the Manchester derby where we saw a very poor performance. The winter training
ground bust up with Mancini and the courtroom chaos with the club over wages seemed to be the final nails in the Italians coffin, Mancini is very sad to see him go saying in his post match interview after the draw against the QPR “We love Mario and he deserves to have this chance. For me, he was not a problem. For me, Mario was like another one of my children. Mario is this.”You can be upset with him sometimes, but afterwards he’s a lovely lad.”
Overall I believe that Mario Balotelli is like Marmite you either love him or hate him and if you do hate him you are curious about what he is and what he’s about, his character very much reminds me of a Gascoigne or a Best very much in character and has the potential for their level of ability. There’s no doubt in my mind he could be one of the best he has very good technique and can hit a ball brilliantly and is cool as ice when it comes to penalties, it’s a real shame he couldn’t really show this before his departure but I do wish him all the best and hope he does brilliantly back in Italy and I do think the premier league will be a bit greyer without Balotelli in its world.