Not a week goes by without Manchester City’s outspoken striker Mario Balotelli saying something which could so very easily leave him with egg on his face. However, thankfully it seems that the majority of the time non one actually cares.
Perhaps this is because the majority of people know his brash statements to be little more than hot air in most occasions. Last week the Italian stated that Man City’s attacking frontline of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, and himself is the “best in the world… better even than Barcelona and Real Madrid.” This is the kind of statement that could so easily start a war of words that could last for years between players and clubs, such as the long term feud which took place in years gone by between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
On this occasion however, it seems that Balotelli’s comments have barely registered on the ears of those they were intended for. Perhaps this is because his statement is known to be false by most, least of all because the strike force has barely been tested at this stage of the season. Possibly another reason for the lack of interest is because the three pronged attack of which the former Inter Milan player speaks of does not exist, or at least not outside of the training ground.
Balotelli has so far barely featured for City this season outside of the Europa League, making just nine appearances in the Premier League this season. That would put him on a similar level to the Brazilian striker Jo, who has found his time at City equating to mostly substitute appearances; far from the world beating exploits to which Balotelli speaks of.
Other comments in recent weeks include that Manchester United fans realise how good he is and wish they could see the twice capped Italy forward turning out in their colours while at the same time stating that he is better than United’s Wayne Rooney. However this has barely registered with City’s cross city rivals, whereas if we look back to when Tevez made the move from the red half of the city to the blue half the reaction was very different indeed. Perhaps this was because Tevez was a player lauded by the United faithful and respected the world over for what he has so far achieved on the football pitch.
Perhaps then it is best if Balotelli leaves the outlandish comments, designed to spark controversy, for when he has achieved something tangible in the game. He can claim to have won the Champions League as part of the Inter team that stormed to victory under the helm of Jose Mourinho last season, however throughout his time under the Portuguese manager he very quickly fell out of favour, mainly due to his attitude surrounding the game as opposed to his abilities during it.
It tells us something that the only player of note to speak out against Balotelli is AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish captain is himself no stranger to the odd comment to get the backs of his opponents up. However, at the age of 29 he is one of the best players in the world having excelled in Serie A for Milan and their rivals Inter, as well as Barcelona, while also playing in two World Cups and two European Championships.
It could well be that Ibrahimovic’s comments, in which he said that Balotelli should forget a move to Milan as “how many top strikers can you have at one club?”, are due to Balotelli previously playing for Milan’s bitter rival’s Inter, with whom Ibrahimovic is now a villain following his move to Milan.
Perhaps therefore Balotelli should take a leaf out of the book of some of the world’s best players, Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Fabregas, and Eto’o. All of these, plus many others, do the majority of their talking on the pitch. Even though some may be considered controversial figures they can back up what they do say with scintillating performances on the football field.
Maybe when Balotelli starts to show his personally stated qualities on the world’s biggest stage on a regular basis, the, he can say what he likes. However, maybe he will find that at that stage he no longer needs to say anything at all.