Balotelli shows Man City what they are missing for the Azzurri
Published: 16.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
Mario Balotelli showed not just how good he can be with his performances for Italy this summer, but also how much Manchester City must rue some of his temperamental issues which clouded some of his Premier League displays last year.
The forward seemed a completely different player for the Azzurri. Not just the same trademark ability and finishing power we are all familiar with, but also the ability to work hard for his team and help them out.
He has shown in flashes, that he retains the same streak which sometimes causes him to try and go it alone rather than play it to a team mate in a better position, but for the most part he has been a real team player.
And he has provided Italy with a vital dimension this summer. Balotelli has formed a potent combination with Antonio Cassano, and the two have been vital in Italy’s run to the final. They have also been able to stun opponents with their pace on the counter attack, giving Italy a dimension allowing them to play long balls behind advanced defensive lines to spring attacks.
That has been pivotal, and the variety of this Italy side has been important in their run to the ultimately disappointing defeat to Spain in the final.
It will make Roberto Mancini wonder though, why Balotelli is such a problem at club level. Perhaps it is because he is not guaranteed the starting spot he holds for Italy. In addition, the number of big egos around him in a squad that has the likes of Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez could be an issue. For Italy, Balotelli seems calmer, and happier. It is as though he feels loved, in a way he does not seem to for Manchester City.
Against Arsenal earlier this season, when he lay prostrate at half time on the floor, his team mates walked past as though trying not to give attention to a spoilt child. Then when sent off, he was practically disowned by the team. Yet that Balotelli appeared a million years from the one which turned up at Euro 2012 this summer.
For Mancini, it will give him some questions to ponder. Can he turn around the player’s attitude and get him onside, and playing well and for the team. If he can, then he has a potent player and one of the best forwards in the league. It is a huge ask, but Cesare Prandelli has shown that it is possible in a blue shirt for Balotelli to shine.