Mario Balotelli’s time at Manchester City is surely up after yet another incident that has blighted his time in England. The problematic Italian has hardly been away from the headlines since he arrived in Manchester back in summer of 2010, much to the disappointment of his manager, Roberto Mancini. However the latest incident, where he got caught up in a training ground bust up with Mancini himself, will likely result in the sale of the 22-year-old in this transfer window.
The two had to be separated by Brian Kidd and Massimo Battara, after Mancini flew into a rage following a dangerous tackle Balotelli made in training on Scott Sinclair. After witnessing the challenge, Mancini told the italian striker to leave the pitch immediately and go to the changing rooms but Balotelli refused. Mancini, angry at yet another petulant response from the player, marched over and grabbed him by the bid before trying to drag him off the pitch. Unable to move the 6ft 2 in forward, Mancini grappled with the player before being separated by his coaching staff. Balotelli reacted badly to the incident as well and had to be restrained by his teammates, only heightening the situation. Balotelli is likely to face a hefty fine from the club in what is another act of insanity by the young striker. Mancini, who has gone above and beyond to protect the player he nurtured through the Inter Milan youth ranks, looks to have finally given up on Balotelli, which will disappoint the manager. Only a few months ago, Mancini spoke of his worry for the player and his future:
“I love Mario like a guy, and as a player, but I think it’s important for him to start to think about his job if he wants to play well. When you have a player with Mario’s quality, you can’t believe that he throws his quality out of the window. I’ve seen players in my life with fantastic quality who ended up with nothing and I don’t want Mario to finish like these players, because it will be bad for him”
The club has not made any official announcement about the latest incident but is likely to do so soon in what has been another embarrassing day for City. Balotelli has been backed publicly by the manager and the club’s owners in the past but is unlikely to get the same grace again. PSG and AC Milan will be monitoring the situation over the next few days, with a view to coming in with a low ball offer for the player. But they too will have their doubts as this isn’t the first time Balotelli has hit the headlines. His off field antics over the past two years have fought for front page coverage as much as his on field behaviour has demanded the back pages. Car crashes, fires at his home, fights with other players in training and excessive partying have featured far too regularly for a leading striker at the country’s championship winning team. His some times child like behaviour on the pitch has caused Mancini headaches as well. Having been sent off four times in the past two seasons for dangerous two footed challenges and often accused of not taking matches seriously enough, it doesn’t appear that Balotelli is learning from his mistakes.
Balotelli has genuine talent and has shown on more than a few occasions that he could become one of the world’s greatest strikers. His display for Italy in the semi final of Euro 2012 where he single-handedly put Italy through to the final with two superb goals and left the Germany defence in tatters still rests in the mind of many a football fan. Or his excellently taken hat trick for City against Aston Villa in December 2010 showcases the potential this young player has. But his inability to grow up and become the player he is meant to be could ultimately be his downfall. He will get another chance at another club, be it in France, Spain or back home in Italy but Balotelli must learn from his past mistakes and knuckle down to make sure he doesn’t throw his career away.
For City, its clear now that they have to give up on Balotelli and move on, especially if they want to regain the title that is in danger of slipping away. Last season’s bad boy Carlos Tevez returned after a self-inflicted absence to help inspire the team to the title but Balotelli is unlikely to do so as he doesn’t possess the maturity of his Argentinian colleague. Selling Balotelli will bring in some fresh cash for a push in the title race and will allow Mancini to concentrate on the job in hand, rather than wondering what trouble his italian superstar will be involved in next.