Posted on Tuesday, 13th July 2010 by Chudi
A long time ago when I was writing for FootballFancast I did a piece on Mario Balotelli.
At the time there was a lot of talk of him coming to the Premier League to either Arsenal, West Ham or Chelsea and fans of each team met the speculation with as much apprehension as glee. The same stories of him being a problem child, and more trouble than he was worth continued to circulate and it wasn’t unmerited.
Bad behaviour on and off field as well as the now infamous incident which saw Balotelli, an Inter Milan player, don an AC Milan shirt as well as declare his love for i Rossoneri added fuel to the fires that raged against him but one thing was his saving grace throughout all of this.
Balotelli was an awesome talent.
At just 19 Balotelli is one of the premier talents not only in Italian football but also world football. Technical as well as an awesome physical specimen it’s easy to understand why many people have patience with the precocious talent. Inter legend Beppe Bergomi sang his praises after a performance last season against Genoa and he wasn’t the first and won’t be the last.
Now he is being linked with United I am sensing the same apprehension from United fans too.
But in joining United there is a twist, a fresh start in a new country with a different kind of manager could see Mario live up to his nickname and actually become “Super”. When talking about Balotelli and how such a talent should be dealt with I drew likeness with Fabio Capello and Antonio Cassano but if we are to look at him in relation to our own club only one player springs to mind.
It’s no secret Gazza was seen as the one that got away by Sir Alex Ferguson and many feel Sir Alex could have the person to straighten him out and prevent the problems that now plague the once talent footballer’s life now, Gazza included. Balotelli’s case isn’t as bad as Gazza’s, for as emotionally immature as Balotelli is it must be remembered that he is persecuted in his adopted country to a disgusting extent.
Juventus fans especially have been known to goad him even when he isn’t playing chanting, “If you jump, Balotelli dies”, something any person let alone a 19 year old should never be subjected to. Whilst those are just words there have been attempts by Inter fans to physically attack him so in leaving Italy he will face a fresh start away from the harsh critique of Italy. A fresh slate not only with his manager but also the fans as well as the press who in Italy have preconceptions when it comes to dealing with him.
Everyone talks of Arsene Wenger’s track record of working with youth but realistically if there was a manager to sort Balotelli out very few would be picked ahead of Sir Alex. Balotelli is the epitome of a rough diamond and for all the time and effort it would take to cut and polish his rough edges and exterior, the end result would be extremely edifying not only in terms of on field results but in terms of personal achievement for the club.
Despite reading this there will be many who still say his trouble isn’t worth it but I disagree, many of the players we regard as greats were far from perfect and many of them missed a Sir Alex in their career to put his arm around them when the situation called for it as well as to give them an earful if need be.
If we are in fact pursuing at Balotelli as it’s being reported don’t look at it in a negative sense, I feel Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson could really get the best out of an already good player, benefiting both parties involved.