Having completed his long-awaited move from Eastland’s to the San Siro, Mario Balotelli has waved goodbye to English football and there is a lot being made of his on and off-field antics while wearing the blue of Manchester City.
Setting off fireworks in his own bathroom and missing the window, buying a camouflage Bentley which only drew more attention (strange that hey), the ridiculous Feathers McGraw (the penguin from the Wallace and Gromit episodes) style hat and, of course, the tantrums are all part of Balotelli’s English story.
Those that found him to be “a breath of fresh air” or “good for the English game” are now wondering where their next maverick player is going to come from.
Love him or hate him, Balotelli is a character – you can’t deny that. The only problem is that we never really saw the true talent on display at Premier League grounds.
The Italian striker was on top form at Euro 2012, guiding Italy into the Final with a man-of-the-match performance and two goals in the semi-final against Germany and greater things were expected of him when he came back to the Premiership with Manchester City in August.
However, Balotelli has managed just one goal in fourteen Premier League appearances this campaign, scoring two further goals in cup competitions, leaving him with final club statistics of 75 appearances and 30 goals for the Blues – a good record, but one that should be much better when you consider the problems he has caused – and created for himself.
But let’s get away from the bad things and focus on the positives – you’re sure to hear plenty more on the negatives before he steps out in the red and black stripes for the first time.
Here are arguably “Super Mario’s” finest moments for Manchester City.
Why Always Me?
Balotelli’s famous t-shirt was revealed as he scored the opening goal in last year’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford, a day City fans will remember for a long time to come. Passing the ball beyond David de Gea, Balotelli provided the impetus for his teammates to follow and commence the embarrassment of reds fans.
However, the standout moment – and one that is overlooked by many – is THAT pass. A little touch inside the penalty area might not seem like a defence-splitting ball that causes havoc for defences – it wasn’t as if it was the Giggs pass to van Persie at Upton Park in the FA Cup; but Balotelli provided the pass to Sergio Agüero in May 2012 and the Argentinian found the back of the net in stoppage time to win the Premier League for the blues, proving that the Italian did in fact contribute to the final stags of the title winning campaign.