Mario Balotelli was back to doing what he does best on Sunday.
Misfiring, misplacing his touch and the ball, and generally making life easy for the opposition. The Italian is unquestionably talented, but is an enigma. Yet unlike players like Eric Cantona, temperamental stars who had a flash of genius that made them worth the hassle, there is little evidence that Balotelli has this. He is called a genius by some, but he is far from it – he is not that talented, he shows very few flashes of genius.
He is an overrated talent, albeit a talent. But is he worth the hassle? No, he can’t be. Forever petulant, his antics are not conducive to building a good team, and he angers opponents and team mates alike with pointless arrogance. He is the type of player to use flicks and tricks to no effect. Whereas Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Cristiano Ronaldo might show off whenever they can, at least they have the ability to do so to effect, and to improve their sides. Balotelli falls more into the Nicklas Bendtner category, a player who obviously thinks a lot of themselves without any real indication to the outside world why.
Teams do not need players like that, yet Robero Mancini seems intent on sticking with the Italian. Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Balotelli has enormous quality, he is not for sale.” That came after Mancini had said “when you have a player that has Mario’s quality, you cannot understand why he continues to throw it out of the window”.
Presumably Mancini knows something about Balotelli that the rest of us are yet to really see. But either way, he is playing a risky game. Carlos Tevez may have similar problems for team spirit and off field mentality, yet when he is on the pitch he is undeniably brilliant, far more so than Balotelli. And Edin Dzeko has done far more than Balotelli has in far less time, too. Sergio Aguero remains a level above all of them.
Mancini has a difficult game to play in balancing his collection of attacking stars, and the various egos in his squad. Maybe that is why he played Balotelli against Man Utd, to help assuage his ego. Yet if that is the case, Mancini is risking his own future for the sake of a player whose talent is yet to really show itself in a Sky Blue shirt. Most of his goals are tap ins, penalties or other simple finishes. There is little outlandish brilliance from the 22 year old .It is about time he showed the world why there is hype around him. Until he does that, he will continue to play havoc with not only his own future, but Mancini’s too.