Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has come out to offer his support for Manchester City’s departed striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli built up an almost unrivalled infamy in his short career with the Premier League champions with his antics both on and off the pitch. Whilst United’s high-flying Dutchman is not stranger to controversy himself, has backed AC Milan’s new signing.
"I have always been a fan of Balotelli. He is quick, strong and is courageous. He has all the qualities a striker needs to succeed at the highest level," Van Persie told NUsport.
I wonder whether the United striker would have felt so inclined to reveal his admiration for the young Italia had he still been contracted to title rivals City but, nonetheless, is he right in his praise of Balotelli?
Balotelli is quick and he is strong. Courage is something usually attributed to heroes and I can’t really define Balotelli in those terms as his behavior, even just on the pitch, has been that of a petulant child who was sold because he was a liability to his manager, his club and his teammates.
Van Persie claims Balotelli is ‘a really nice guy’ which, having never met him, I’m not concerned with. As a footballer, his attitude stinks. There is an argument to be made that perhaps the star-studded environment at City didn’t sit well with his ego.
He found it increasingly hard to force his way into the first-team behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko. But a different sort of player would have relished the challenge of proving himself, where Balotelli seemed to have delusions of persecution on his mind and evident in his temperament when he did play.
Balotelli is undoubtedly an exceptionally talented footballer and, as I assessed upon the news of his transfer to Milan, he could very well develop into one of the most dangerous strikers on the continent. But, ultimately, it’s down to his attitude and application at AC Milan.
He seems to have started impeccably well with a brace on his debut but I wonder, over a longer period of time, whether he’ll revert to his petulant child mode if and when he doesn’t get his own way.
I’m still unsure as to why Robin van Persie, the Premier League’s top goalscorer and Manchester United star considers himself a Balotelli fan – perhaps he’s just distinguishing polarity between him and City fans who, by all accounts, are not strictly Mario Balotelli fans any longer.