OPINION: 'Super' Mario Balotelli has wasted his immense talent
“Super Mario” will never change.
The Italian is entering the twilight of his career, but if you thought that would curb his habits, think again. Instead, he might be getting worse.
What a waste of talent.
Early in his career, the now 29-year-old Balotelli was touted as the next big thing in Italian football, but his behaviour off the field has tainted much of his on-field exploits.
It is true that on his day Balotelli can hurt you with skills which set him apart from most of his contemporaries, but his talents have always been overshadowed by his shenanigans.
Rumours are rife that he will be cutting ties with Serie A and bottom-of-the-table Brescia. And again his imminent departure has to do with ill-discipline. Balotelli has consistently missed training as the local season in Italy prepares to restart after being suspended earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He hasn’t even completed the first year of his three-year contract with Le Rondinelle, but already the club is fed up with his behaviour and apparently contemplating terminating his deal.
It is unprofessional, but Balotelli will never learn, or he simply does not care.
When he first appeared on the scene back in 2006 with little known Lumezzane, there was no doubt that he was destined for greater things, and bigger clubs. Italian giants Inter Milan were quick to capture his signature in 2007 after his displays with the little club in Lombardy in his debut professional season.
During his time with Inter he amassed every trophy on offer, both at domestic and European level. His multiple accomplishments with the Nerazzurri included three league triumphs, a Copa Italia title, and a Uefa Champions League crown.
All these successes in Italy occurred while his age still hovered around being a teenager and he was showing signs of becoming a superstar, a legend of football, at a very young age.
Newly enriched Manchester City duly snapped him up in 2010 and while with the Sky Blues he built a legion of fans, admirers and supporters. He was part of the City team that went from being perennial losers to English champions.
Balotelli was no passenger in that team and he contributed immensely to the club’s success, but stories of his off-field behaviour were always there to dent his reputation.
With City, he won the league title and the FA Cup, but departed in 2013 when the club couldn’t handle his behaviour any more.
He moved to AC Milan, where he revived his career before joining English powerhouse Liverpool in 2014 - and he is considered to be one of the worst signings in Reds history.
Signing for big clubs, however, has not been by mere fluke. Make no mistake, it’s been because of Balotelli’s ability as a footballer. It is a pity that his ego and behaviour has stifled his growth as a player and as a person.
He could have been considered among the greats.
Super Mario has spent the past fours in France and Italy, where he has dazzled in the colours of Nice, Marseille and now Brescia, even though the spectre of his personality hangs over him in those leagues.
And he will always find a new club, despite his behaviour.
But what a waste of talent which will never reach its true potential.