Friday, 20 August 2010

Does Balotelli’s promise outweigh his risk?

In what has been dubbed the greatest gamble in football history, City last week signed 20 year old Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan. At £24m the Italian does not come cheap, especially for one so young. But whilst the Club can afford to gamble financially, Mancini certainly cannot afford to gamble in terms of performances on the pitch.

Dangerous for all the wrong reasons

By now surely, we all know that the forward comes to Manchester with a controversial reputation in tow. He clearly has problems with his temperament and attitude. It is rather worrying that the great man manager himself Jose Mourinho couldn’t figure out a suitable way to deal with the troubled Italian. Whilst at Inter, Balotelli apparently reacted very badly to being criticised by Mourinho and was dropped from the squad as a result, only being reinstated after making a public apology to his manager.

The relationship with Inter fans and players seems to have been equally turbulent. He made angry gestures during last season’s Champions League tie with Barcelona, throwing his shirt down in disgust. Apparently, Marco Materazzi attacked Balotelli in the tunnel afterwards. Then there was that interesting scenario where the Italian chose to wear an AC Milan shirt on a TV show.

The forward has shown immaturity in his personal life. He appears to have had disagreements with the authorities on more than one occasion, one of the most notable being caught along with three of his friends for fooling around with a toy gun in the centre of Milan.

Aside from Balotelli’s volatility, another problem will be fitting him into the attack. The media are all over this at the moment, especially with the departures of Ireland and Bellamy underlining the fact that we are getting rid of good quality players who have spoken of their loyalty to the club in the past. They will be on the lookout for any cracks appearing within our forward line.

So where will Balotelli fit in? I’ve never been convinced about Adebayor, and with Santa-Cruz looking like he is on the way out, we certainly need a target man to accompany Tevez up front. Whether Balotelli is that player I am not sure. I see him as more of a forward than an out and out striker, perhaps supporting a target man, or attacking from wide positions – similar to Tevez now I come to think of it. In fact the more our attack shapes up, the more it seems that we are destined to play without a target man.

So how to accommodate the likes of Tevez, Silva, Adebayor, Adam Johnson and now Mario Balotelli? This is a conundrum for Mancini to solve and it has the potential to be a volatile situation. Given Balotelli’s combustible personality, how will he react when he does not play every game, and is not first choice?

‘Crazy’ abilities

Aside from the well publicised controversial elements to Balotelli’s game, there seems to be a consensus already built that the Italian could be brilliant in the English Premier League. Carlo Ancelotti has gone on record as saying that the forward is a ‘crazy’ talent and that City will challenge for the title with Balotelli, not just simply forth place.

For Balotelli’s talent is said to be explosive. Quick, exciting from dead ball situations, technically gifted, and at 6 ft 3”, seemingly built for the rigours of a physical league. On the surface an excellent signing for all Premier League sides, but for his unpredictable temperament.

Mancini’s wild card

Balotelli could be brilliant, that much is clear. And perhaps Manchester City were always going to be the only club for him join, both in a financial and psychological sense. Roberto Mancini credits himself with giving the Italian his first big chance in football. Like Balotelli, Mancini was at one time a huge, underachieving talent, so perhaps there is some sense of mutual understanding there – it is well documented that the two supposedly have a strong relationship.

Initial reports are encouraging. Balotelli’s 57th minute introduction during last night’s first leg tie against Romanian minnows Timisoara turned things in City’s favour, with the Italian himself marking his debut with the winning goal.

But only Roberto Mancini can know whether the odds of the Balotelli ‘gamble’ are stacked in his favour. If Balotelli is as good as they say he is, and if Mancini can stabilise him in the way he says he can, then the fortunes of City’s season, and indeed of Mancini himself, could begin to look very positive.

For all things Mario Balotelli be sure to check out fan site


  1. Just looking at 'Super Mario's' website, some words from Sammy Eto'o that might be cause for concern:

    "Mario has the potential to go on and be one of the best players in the world, but he must sort some things out in his head.

    “The older players at Inter have always tried to advise him. I am not sure how successfully..."

    If Mancini is sacked, Super Mario will have to jump into the nearest pipe to a new zone.

  2. Anonymous17/6/13 05:08

    Situated at the fringe of short distance to city, Sant
    Ritz at Potong Pasir (Singapore) in District 13. the interlace