It’s time for us City fans (yes I am one, and yes I was one ten years before we won our first trophy in recent memory) to say goodbye to a true club legend in Mario Balotelli. The biggest story of the transfer window has to be his switch back to Italy in a big money move to AC Milan, the side he supposedly supported as a boy. This has obviously led to widespread discussion. There are so many sides to this story, much like the many strange tales that make up the journey ‘Super Mario’ has taken since arriving in Manchester in 2010.
One argument is whether this news should be taken as a good thing or a bad thing for Manchester City and City fans. I can completely understand why this is up for discussion. There are many negatives to his character and his game. He has been accused of being lazy, only producing in patches and of believing his own hype too much. These traits coupled with his naturally eccentric personality, which often causes clashes with opponents and even team-mates makes him somewhat of a volatile element to have in your dressing room.
I for one look past the flaws and the imperfections and see the good in Mario. I’m not a wild optimist by any stretch of the imagination. This blog itself can back that up. Nonetheless, Mario can stun you with flashes of brilliant skill and natural ability, and if you look close enough it is clear to see the potential for astounding improvement ahead. His off the pitch antics are often criticised heavily, but many people forget that we are talking about a man who isn’t even my age. He has plenty of time to mature as a player, and as a person. Maybe this transfer can be the beginning of that process.
To get back to my original musing: Good or bad thing? From my position firmly on the fence, I’d say a bit of both. I won’t miss the negative publicity for the club, the sometimes less than inspired performances and the occasional anger problems. I will however (like many football fans I’m sure) miss the character, and perhaps in the future regret losing his talents, should he flourish into one of the best players in the world. Our game is going to miss a colourful personality, and it could very well end up missing out on one of the best talents in the world. We will have to wait and see.