People, who are genius, usually have an eccentric streak in them. But that is acceptable as long as their expertise overshadows their kookiness. Sadly for Mario Balotelli, it is always the other way around.
Balotelli is an extremely talented footballer there are no doubts about that. Even in the recently concluded Euro, Balotelli showed flashes of brilliance, especially in the match against Germany. But the problem with Mario is his brilliances are far less consistent than his theatrics. Roberto Mancini has been like a father figure to Mario at Manchester City, criticizing him for his failures but never losing faith in him. Recently in the match against Sunderland, Balotelli stormed off the pitch after being substituted by Mancini in the 55th minute. Mario left the stadium immediately after the final whistle and returned to Italy for his upcoming international duty. Had this been a one-off incident, their perhaps wouldn’t have been much fuss about it. But Mancini and Manchester City has suffered from far worse.
Coming back to Mancini, it is clear that despite all his troubles, the Manchester City manager clearly believes in Balotelli’s talent. The Italian can conjure up magical moments on field, if and when he wants to, but is it worth it?
The importance of discipline in football cannot be understated, but more so is team bonding. With Mario being exempted for all his impermissible activities on and of the pitch, does it sets good example for others in the team. Will Mancini be so lenient if other members of the squad repeat such mistakes time and again? Manchester City needs to deal with the likes of Balotelli more harshly. A player can never be bigger than the club itself.
Off course, there are examples of top footballers who have made headlines due to wrong reasons, but were still worthy of being a taken a risk on. Legends like Diego Maradone and Paul Gascoigne also had plenty of issues off the field. But still they were worth it because they delivered on the pitch. An argument can be made that Balotelli is still young (22-years-old), but is he improving every season? Is the Mario Balotelli that lined up against Sunderland this weekend a more improved footballer compared to the Mario Balotelli that left Inter back in 2010? There is nothing to prove that he is improving or maturing with age – either statistically or logically.
Roberto Mancini must act strongly now, Mario Balotelli isn’t worth the fuss anymore.