Balotelli – the most overrated player in football?
Published: 02.01.13 / Written by: David Gold
Mario Balotelli continues to serve as an enigma for the footballing world to deal with.
Is the Italian brilliant? A genius? An egomaniac? A cuddly eccentric? Bonkers? All of the above?
It is often difficult to know, but as a footballer first and foremost, there is little doubt that the Manchester City forward has often flattered to deceive. He has rarely shone for City, whilst at Inter Milan his talents were not too often on show. He hardly set the world alight with Inter, but rather showed off his abilities on odd occasions, such as when he struck a remarkable 40 yard free kick against Rubin Kazan in the Champions League.
There is little doubt of his remarkable talent. Yet there is much over his abilities as a footballer. Balotelli flatters to deceive far more than he impresses. As it is, he may just be the most overrated footballer in the game. When has he ever shown anything to suggest he is anywhere even approaching world class? The assumption is that City have a top class forward on their hands if they handle him correctly. The evidence suggests otherwise. Many of his goals are not particularly difficult. Few are spectacular. You rarely see the kind of defence splitting passes of his team mates, like David Silva or Sergio Aguero.
This summer Balotelli was lauded for his performances for Italy. Yet they were nothing special. He did little in the group stage, and then in the quarter finals he was useful, if not spectacular, against England. His running from deep was causing England problems, but that was more a result of Italy’s intelligent tactical set up rather than Balotelli himself being the instigator of the problems. We all know who was most responsible for those – Andrea Pirlo.
The highlight for Balotelli was his two goal show against Germany. His first goal was intelligent, drifting into space to convert an easy header. But that is hardly evidence of being a world class forward. His second goal was a great finish, granted, but he was clear through on goal thanks to Riccardo Montolivo’s pass. These were Balotelli’s two main contributions to the game – he did little else of note, and was rather anonymous in the final.
So where is this huge reputation from? His price tag? Possibly. Balotelli hardly seems to ever really show anyone on the pitch any reason to justify his huge reputation. He is constantly outshone by others, and frequently angers team mates and opponents alike with his antics and behaviour. His histrionics, and misdemeanours make him more of a burden to his teams than a help. Therefore the question should be asked – just why is Balotelli rated so highly? The evidence suggests that indeed he is quite possibly the world’s most overrated player.