A serial trophy winner turn serial troublemaker. To say Mario Balotelli has had a roller-coaster ride of a career is an understatement.
The Italian has perhaps gone under the radar for the last 2-3 seasons, doing his talking on the pitch for Nice in Ligue 1. 26 goals in 38 games last season is a reminder of what Super Mario is capable of, even if he isn’t the wonderkid that burst onto the scene with an unstoppable Inter Milan side.
Mario on his critics
“You speak bad of me, I score goals.”
Throughout this window, he’s been linked with moves to the Premier League after a poor start to the season. Yet it seems like Balotelli is on his way to rivals Olympique Marseille after 3 seasons for Les Aiglons. Let’s analyse whether the former Manchester City striker will be a success at the Stade Vélodrome or not:
One thing that can’t be disputed regarding the treble winner is the natural skill and ability he has to succeed up front. As observed during his time at the San Siro for Inter and AC as well as the Etihad. When on form, Balotelli is unstoppable, which is why his career has been underwhelming for the neutral.
Pace, strength, height and skill, the Italian has all the natural qualities to be the quote on quote ‘complete forward’. Not to mention, he is technically able, both as a finisher and a creator. 3.9 shots per game and 1.2 key passes per game in 2017/18 are fine figures for a striker. Of course with Mario, there have never been question marks over his talent, instead it’s his mindset.
You would have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about the antics of the former Liverpool striker in his career. The guy is the definition of box office, both on and off the pitch.
Countless fines, ‘why always me’, setting off fireworks in his bathroom, training ground bust ups, the list goes on for Balotelli. His ‘bad-boy’ persona has been apparent on the pitch too, becoming notorious for having a poor work ethic over the years. This is perhaps the biggest threat a move for the 28 year old poses for Marseille.
You would hope he would’ve matured at his age now, but… it’s Mario.
Off field incidents aside, the Italian international’s career has been overshadowed by inconsistency and an inability to ‘kick on’.
Showing huge promise at Inter was followed by a bright start at City that soured towards the end. He once again found his feet at AC Milan for two seasons before a disastrous move to Anfield along with a failed return to the Rossoneri on loan.
Even during his time at Nice, consistency is a word that can’t be said. A stellar start to his first season tailed off towards the end before an equally fine 2017/18. Now in 2018/19, he has featured 10 times under manager Patrick Vieira without netting once. Hit and miss to say the least.
With just 6 months remaining on his deal at Nice, Mario Balotelli won’t force Marseille to break the bank with a transfer fee, he might in fact cost nothing. Wages may be an issue too, especially for someone unpredictable as the 36 time capped Italian.
He’s provided us with so much entertainment over the years alongside the frustration, so we hope this move works out for Super Mario. Whether it does though, only time will tell…