The Italian striker has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal with the rivals of his former club Inter Milan after a number of accumulating factors both on and off the pitch made his position at the Premier League champions untenable.
Balotelli was brought to Manchester by City manager Roberto Mancini who had developed a strong relationship with him as a youngster at Inter but, since his move to England, Balotelli has earned himself an infamous reputation as something of a wild child.
On the pitch, he has been unpredictable, often lacked discipline and consistency and, subsequently found himself out of the starting line-up for the majority of this season behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko who have all been in fine form.
Balotelli’s antics off the field have also meant he has made the front pages of newspapers across the land with his rumoured partying, promiscuity and flash cash splashing.
Is Mario Balotelli worth £19 million? On the one hand, as she demonstrated for Italy in last summer’s European championships, he does possess talent. However, on the other hand, he can be and too often is a liability to his club, his manager, and even his teammates.
I wrote an article back in November assessing the ways Balotelli needed to develop and improve – areas covered included his attitude, behaviour, discipline, application, and technical level. Overall, I summarized then that he needed to grow up and work harder, essentially, if was to reach his potential.
Balotelli is now 22 years of age and, whilst he’s still got the best part of his career ahead of him, there are still concerns over his immaturity – he doesn’t seemed to have learned how to take responsibility for himself and accountability for his actions.
Subsequently, even one of his biggest supporters and admirers, Mancini, has thrown in the towel. Mancini won’t have sold Mario lightly – it will have been with a heavy heart. If one of his biggest influences, and mentors and I suspect counsellors has given up on him it’s likely because he feels he can no longer help the young man.
If Balotelli is to become the real deal – a potentially world-class centre-forward – he is going to have to first help himself.
Right now, in the economic climate of and transfer market, £19 million for an undoubtedly talented 22-year-old international sounds like a fair and reasonable price.
But £19 million for a spoilt brat with an attitude problem and poor record of unacceptable behaviour sounds like a big waste of money – especially for a player who’s out of form and confidence.
I suppose it all depends which Mario Balotelli AC Milan have purchased – which Mario will show up at the San Siro is anyone’s guess. He could very well become of the most feared and revered strikers on the continent, if he really wants and tries to.
In the end, I wonder whether Milan will find they’ve wasted their money on a player who’s intent on wasting his talent. I suppose only time will tell.