It took me a little longer than expected to write a new post here, I apologize for that.
I also apologize for that utterly annoying display of sensitivity in my latest posts, I need to get back to football and regain comfort in a less vulnerable position.
Today it’s time for Mario Balotelli, undoubtedly the most hyped italian football player ever, talented, young and controversial, once promising, and now, at the tender age of 24 already one who’s been given his last chance, at Liverpool.
But let me digress a little…
I discovered him through football Manager, in 2005 or 2006 maybe, and I had the pleasure to buy him off Inter for a little money and then winning everything with him as my main centre forward with Sassuolo or Cesena (or was it Parma?).
It was January 2008, and as I was about to leave Rome for a while, I remember distractedly watching Inter playing against Juventus in Coppa Italia. As I said before, I wasn’t really focused on the match, but then, at some point, this 17 years old black italian guy scored a goal for Inter, and, in the second half he scored another (beautiful) one, therefore securing the victory and the access to the semifinals. From then on I followed him with attention: honestly he hasn’t still grown into that magnificent player I expected him to become, the reason being he’s probably what is generally referred to as an asshole.
It hurts me a little saying this, because I used to be forgiving with him: every time someone told me he was a jerk I promptly replied Mario was just a young talented player who needed to mature a bit and that all the fame, hype and environment didn’t help him to develop. I was happy about him moving to Manchester City, thinking that it was the right chance for him to finally prove himself. Actually Man City won the Premiership in 2012/13 and Supermario played his part: if we just look at the stats it’s 13 goal in 23 matches, not always playing from the start. Not bad at all, but then, instead of being professional and working hard to get better he went on acting like a temperamental child in way too many occasions. And he was then sold to Ac Milan.
Back to Italy, still hit and miss, pretty much the same as before, some good matches, some beautiful goals, even some outstanding performances with the national team, but, at the end of the day, it was always the same old Mario…
Liverpool then, England once again, as cheap as 16 million pounds could be in modern football, to replace another controversial human being named Luis Suarez.
And then again everyone is talking about him, and the english press is going mad: flirting with models, sex for hours with a hairdresser, going around with a mimetic car, renting a huge luxury house in the countryside and, yeah, ok… but what about football? An unremarkable first league match, some saying he played well, someone else saying the opposite: for as much I watched him I can honestly say he didn’t do anything impressive and he wasted a good chance to score. I don’t think he has to work that hard to adapt to english football, he played there for almost three seasons in the past, plus, he’s not coming from some obscure league in a distant country and I’m sure he speaks an acceptable english at least.
His first goal was scored against Ludgorets in Champions League two days ago: he created a real fine goal from nothing nevertheless, but I wouldn’t say he played outstandingly well during the whole match. But yeah, he scored, let’s give him a break, what’s a centre forward to do after all?
‘Mario Balotelli shows why he was a risk worth taking for Liverpool’ says The Guardian, The Mirror titles ‘Mario Balotelli’s first Liverpool goal inspired by half-time chat says Brendan Rodgers’ while the Independent displays ‘Liverpool vs Ludogorets player ratings: Was Mario Balotelli the best player on the pitch?’
Let’s concentrate on the Brendan Rodgers for a moment, I never ever heard about him before, but he’s apparently popular for being the perfect coach for difficult players: see Suarez before Mario. When questioned what Balotelli was going to bring to Liverpool he ironically answered with one word ‘Trouble’. He seems to know he’s managing much more than a football player, just like Roberto Mancini, his coach at Man City, who eventually got tired and gave up on his quest for Mario’s development.
So, three matches and one goal so far, his performances are literally smothered by the huge volume of noise surrounding him, and this won’t help anyone, let alone Mario…
Shakespeare could have written a play about Mario, the black italian prince, who escaped from Italy and abandoned his unwanted daughter there. Unwanted, just like him, abandoned by his real parents, this is not something you can wash away and then forget about it. I wonder, apart from the sex marathons the press writes about, how he treats women and what kind of relationships has with them.
I now wonder who Mario would have been if he wasn’t lucky enough to be good at kicking a football: what if he was happier and peaceful without football, money and fame? It’s funny how sometimes life seems trying to compensate for the things we lack, more often than not there’s no balance in this process, and it’s up to us to find a way to get it right.
Good luck Mario, and don’t worry, I’ll be watching you…