Is Mario Balotelli finally realizing his potential?
2012 was quite the year for football’s bad boy, Mario Balotelli – having helped Manchester City win the title in one of the most dramatic finishes to a season before an impressive Euro 2012 campaign came to an end after a 4-0 drubbing from Spain in the final. You’d think he’d push on and improve in the 2012/2013 season, however, that wasn’t the case – not for the first 5 months at least.
The Italian became some sort of a fringe player for the Citizens having only started 8 games, with 1 goal in 14 league games for the champions in total. It just wasn’t working out anymore for the former Inter Milan striker under City coach, Roberto Mancini with rumours of a move back to Milan starting to grow. While negotiations went on and off — even with AC Milan president, Silvio Berlusconi labeling him a “rotten apple” — the move was finally completed on deadline day of the January transfer window and what a move it has been.
For club and country since the transfer window ended, Balotelli has netted 10 goals in 9 games, including 7 in 7 for Milan. Quite an impact from the Italian as he finally seems at home and looks to be realizing his potential.
But how has he transformed so quickly? One factor is the fact that he has played in Serie A before – hence, he needed no time to adapt to Italy as can be seen with his blistering start. He also lives nearby Brescia – a 30 minute drive from his family and after all, home is where the heart is and it’s fair to say he is much happier in Milan than at Manchester.
In Milan, he is no longer the (English) media’s favourite pet. He also seems to be enjoying and more notably, thriving the responsibility of being the main man under Milan coach, Max Allegri - something he wasn’t in England with Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez all above him in the pecking order as well as Inter Milan.
“When you are dealing with a talent like this, you just need patience. The moment eventually comes when the talent has to take on his share of the responsibility and stand on his own feet. This is the right moment for Balotelli.” – Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli.
If Balotelli keeps going at this rate, not only will he no longer be “wasting” his talent and proving his doubters and critics wrong, but he can go on to become one of the best strikers in the world. It certainly looks like that given his current scoring record for the Rossoneri.
The world is waiting for your best, Mario.