‘Super’ Mario Ballotelli was supposed to be Italy’s next big thing.
No longer is the young flamboyant, ‘celebrity like’ striker an interest to the football world. His dazzle has all but vanished.
Balotelli has not been selected for Euro 2016 in France, and his playing future remains in tatters, currently contracted to Liverpool FC but scoring only a single goal in his loan appearance for AC Milan this season.
The Italian forward seemed destined for success, playing a major role in assisting Sergio Aguero’s goal that famously handed Manchester City its first title in 44 years in the 2012 English Premier League season. At the age of 21, Balotelli carried the weight of a nation on his shoulders, whilst dealing with the constant negative publicity and pressure from the English press. Not to mention the unwavering racist remarks made by a minority of Italian fans.
Against all odds, Balotelli silenced the critics at Euro 2012, scoring a brace against Germany to send the Azzurri into the Euro final against Spain.
Along with all of his success, the bad boy has found himself in a number of controversial incidents over the years. From shooting an air gun in public, reported relations with Italian Mafia, crashing expensive cars, and even lighting his house on fire with fireworks.
His latest incident only came yesterday, spitting a tantrum after being overlooked by manager Cristian Brocchi in the Coppa Italia Final.
It’s not the type of decorated career many were expecting.
His antics have fuelled critics with ammo to attack the star, and has resulted in his rapid decline.
It seems like only yesterday that the football world had envisaged a future star. Where did it all go wrong?
A WAY OUT
Whilst all hope may look lost for Mario, a rare opportunity may gift him with a precious last lifeline.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that Balotelli is not in his future plans, meaning he could potentially sit on the sidelines until end of contract in 2018.
Alternatively, newly promoted Italian side F.C Crotone have expressed their interest in the controversial forward.
President Raffaele Vrenna thinks Balotelli and Crotone could be the perfect match.
“Will we bring a top player to Crotone? We have a good reputation for revitalising the careers of players having a difficult time,” Vrenna said.
“In that case, why not go for Balotelli?”
Crotone’s stadium only holds up to 10,000 people, very unfamiliar to the big crowds Balotelli would be used to.
It’s the perfect opportunity for the fallen star to escape the limelight.
A chance to start again.