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Saturday April 26 2014
Enough Balotelli alibis

It’s time to stop making excuses for Mario Balotelli, says Susy Campanale, or he will never learn from Miralem Pjanic.

How much longer do we have to keep trotting out the same old tired alibis for Mario Balotelli’s failure to make the step up? We’ve heard it all before – he’s young, he’s inexperienced, he needs to settle down off the field before he can get his head together, he has to feel loved by club and Coach. None of this applies now. Mario is playing for Milan, the side he supported even when he wore the Inter jersey, and can learn a lot from Clarence Seedorf. He is a father now and appears to have found some stability with girlfriend Fanny Neguesha. Above all, Balotelli is 23 years old – only four months younger than Miralem Pjanic.

The Roma midfielder scored a sensational solo effort in the 2-0 victory over Milan, giving a performance that was the polar opposite of whatever half-hearted slop Balotelli put into the same match. Pjanic worked hard, showed skill, leadership and tactical intelligence to knit the midfield and forward line together. Balotelli wandered about aimlessly, pausing only to moan at the referee, at teammates, at his Coach and afterwards at Sky Sport Italia pundits.

That interview really was car crash television. You could tell it was not going to end well from the moment the pundits declared he was ‘not a top player’ and the image cut to Balotelli listening in ready to be interviewed, his face a picture of barely suppressed rage. Those toys weren’t going to stay in the pram for long...

Giancarlo Marocchi was cut down with a damning statement: “You don’t understand anything about football. Trust me, you really don’t.” It’s not as if Marocchi’s question had been unfair, he had simply asked if Balo thought he’d make a greater impact on the field if he moved more off the ball. It’s a criticism every fan and Coach has levelled at Mario, as we’ve all recognised those days when he visibly can’t be bothered.

Balotelli has played in Serie A and the Premier League for many years now, so you can’t realistically still say he’s inexperienced. He was born in 1990, the same year as Pjanic. Mario’s early years were tough, but Miralem’s family fled Bosnia just before the outbreak of war. Roma fans jeered Balo from start to finish in last night’s game, but insults aren’t always prompted by racism. Sometimes he gets jeered because he is quite simply an irritating character.

The World Cup is this summer and Italy need the best version of Balotelli. If the petulant man-child we saw at the Olimpico turns up, then he may as well just go sit on the beach with some ice cream and let the adults play. We’re through making excuses for him.

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Have your say...
@anonymous, Del Piero & Totti played as second strikers, (just like Baggio). They never really dropped deep & dictated the play. Giannini, Albertini, & Pirlo have been our playmakers. Both, IMO, never replicated their club form for, consistently Italy. As for Totti's performances in 2006; he came off the back of a serious ankle injury for that tournament and was never full fit.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 7:51am
@Maldini's Heir

De jong had an awful season?? Mate, he's been one of our better players this season (and there very few of them). I'm shocked that you as an milan fan would say something like that. De Jong have been one of few with an actual ok work rate.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:58am
JUST BLAME BALOTELLI WHEN IT DOESNT GO RIGHT IN MILAN.
LAST TIME I CHECK HE HAS FIFTEEN GOALS. BESIDES KAKA HE HAS A POOR MIDFIELD. THE DEFENSE IS HORRIBLE WITH A BUM GOAL KEEPER.

I COULD ALREADY SEE IT IF ITALY DONT WIN THE WORLD CUP ALL THE BLAME WILL BE ON BALOTELLI ONLY.

ITS JUST NOT FAIR HE GETS JUDGED FOR EVERYTHING.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 11:48pm
Destro has been hurt most of the season, but has only one less goal. Scores every 85 minutes. It would be a travesty if him or Immobile are left at home. Cerci is second in assists, Cassano has flair and fantasy, and Rossi if healthy is a superstar. Those 5 should easily go before Balotelli. After that, I'll give you Balotelli over Gilardino and Osvaldo. And while Toni is old and not the fittest player, if Prandelli goes with 6 forwards (or Rossi can't play) then its a toss up between him/Balo.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 10:55pm
So I made a mistake and said 2 goals instead of 3…big deal. The point is he didn't go on some scoring blitz like Ronaldo in 02 or Schillaci in 90. And did he not get benched for playing poorly?? I look silly but your comparing Balotelli (a striker) to Totti who was an attacking midfielder in 2006. You should be embarrassed of even making that comparison. And Balotelli is having his best year scoring goals and Immobile still has 7 more on a less talented team.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 10:50pm
@lucio and maldini heir
Balotelli is a striker. Totti is a play maker.
For 2 people who claim to know so much its a stupid comparison to make, chalk and cheese maybe!!! A striker is there to score. A play maker, wait for it, creates goals for strikers. To create goals he needs strikers that move and position themselves in goal scoring positions, something which boban and others see balotelli do very little of.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 10:10pm
Prandelli promised he said ,,,form will be rewarded,,,sorry that isn't the case is it Maldini?? Or all you believers??? Top score rs deserve it. It's just the way it is, balo scores penalties,,not goals, I am bored with mr Maldinis heir, sorry but true,
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:58pm
That balo plays well for Italy,,,,what is the point of any player giving his all for his club,,,on the basis that hard work,,,determination,,,and progress,,,will not earn you a World Cup call because a particular person has done it two years ago against Germany??? What is that teaching the players??it doesn't matter if you have an extraordinary season at 21 or 36 because a certain balo has a guaranteed spot cos he's done it before?? Look this is not correct,,it's not progress,,it's not what
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:56pm
Stop defending him....we all want Italy to win...but if the top two goalscorers at end of season are Toni and Immobile then is it not normal they deserve to go to Brazil?? Also Destro has hardly played..yet he has scored same as balo...no penalties,,,,look you guys Toni plays for little Verona,,,stop saying balo hasn't got a team,,,what about Toni?? He hasn't exactly go tiniest a Xavier and Pirlo playing!!!think about what you are all saying!!you are defending the indefensible. It does not
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:48pm
@ MoE No it was 3 goals. And he was joint leading goal scorer and made team of the tournament. Now do you feel a litte silly? I'm bored of this now. The facts for speak for themselves and the rest is utter nonesense. The only thing I want is for Milan to sign a GK, CB and LB this summer and for Italy to do well in the world cup. Is that too much to ask?
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:25pm
Moe please do not try to educate me on italian football, balotelli scored 3 goals in euro 2012! Once against ireland then twice in the semi final. My point which perhaps was not made very clearly,was that balotelli has scored more goals in one tournament then both delpiero and totti scored. delpiero scored 3 in 7 major tournaments and totti scored 3 in 4! I loved both of those players and always believed in them, its a shame that so many fans do not share the same faith in balotelli.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:18pm
@ Balo Haters mut have been why he wac man of the match in the FA Cup and made the team of the tournament in the Euros. Its views like yours that maks me doubt democracy has any hope. You read or hear some nonesense in the meda and lap it up.

@ Lucio exactly my poiny. People seem to forget Italy pretty much carried 1 pen Totti in 2006. Could you imagine if Balo's contrbution this summer was 1 pen?
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:34pm
Lucio…Balotelli only scored in one game at the Euro…against Germany. In fact he was even benched during the group stages (for Di Natale) because he played poorly. And while that game against Germany was big, its not like he took over the whole tournament. No one ever says Luca Toni had some stellar World Cup in 2006 for scoring two goals against Ukraine, but they basically had the same performance. And it was 2 goals not 4 for Balo at the Euros….
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:16pm
one word, "balo scores, he is great, balo doesnt score he is the worst player...rating some inconsistent players over balo jst cos he played one gud match or is having one gud season. balo has bn around for awhile considering his age and he has always bn in a top club until he got to milan. i wonder hw many players can stand d pressure d media put on balo even messi nd neyma went down. the so called pundits deliberately provoked d ans fromhim(does wr nt questions) and he gave a gud ans & den decided to roast him.bolan a so kald milan legend collaboratin wit a juventini to distabilise milan, he obviously has no respect for milan. The club has a problem which nt jst abt one person bt sinc balo is d biggest personalty on d pitch he comes in line for d firing squad. y always him?
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:03pm
Balotelli was not a vital key to the success of any of those teams. He came off the bench and was a role player. This is the first time he is leading a team…and look at the results. Immobile and Cerci have less talent on Torino, and Immobile is still lighting up Serie A. 21 goals with no penalties, but what is even more important is that he never quits and tracks back throughout the game. 100% effort always. Destro is a killer in front of the net, who barely squanders chances. It's their time.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 7:33pm
Balotelli has scored more goals in one major tournament than both del piero or totti did in 4.He is unpredictable,contoversial and comes across as arrogant but the euro's showed he is a big time player!.He is not on messi's or ronaldo's level, but he is the best we have and perhaps we should all look to embrace him rather than castigate him.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 7:14pm
@maldini heir
O yes I forgot how important he was to so many teams. He was a sub at best its only milan that make him even bigger than he is, well until friday when he demonstrated exactly what a professional he is. He left a trail of destruction at every club as he was sent packing by each team, and come the summer i hope we send him packing to.
You talk as if he is italy and milans answer to messi ans ronaldo- he really really isnt.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 6:17pm
Unfortunately even so of Mario's true backers and (myself & my son) always backed him are losing patients with him. Do Italia need him. He has not let Italy down I fear he may now and in the tough group that Gli Azzurri find themselves in I have my doubts if we can afford to play him. Dio, I hope I'm wrong as without a Great Mario & Rossi looking a doubt we may be in trouble.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 6:11pm
I cannot believe Maldivian heir keeps defending Balo...telly....
!!!.. Are you for real???are u his brother?????? The guy never scores ok!!! Reading your input to this blog angers me!! Listen Toni Immobile Destro score almost every time they play!!!! Balotelli never I repeat never looks like he is going to score period you my friend are an England supporter because our best strikers do not include Balo simples.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 3:55pm
@ MoE of course they should. That's normally what happens. A player helps you qualify for a tournment and then gets dropped. Also why would we want to bring our leading goalscorer in the Euros? I know these goals don't count they were scored with his right foot....
on the 27th April, 2014 at 3:32pm
@ mm you seem delighted with yourself. I'm glad you're lapping up the media induced controversy. Balo's already proved you wrong by what he's achieved so far in his career. Lets just recap. 3 Serie A titles, 1 Premier League title, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 Champions League, 1 FA Cup and MOM in the final, 1 Golden Boy Award, UEFA Team of the Tournament (Euro 2012) and Serie A Team (12/13). At Milan his goals helped us qualfiy for the CL last season. For Italy his goals helped us to the fial of the Euros
on the 27th April, 2014 at 3:27pm
Been a Milan fan for twenty five years and never seen anybody in that time that can drag a team down so much.
Lazy, lousy attitude no pace and thinks he's a world beater, Milan need to do the right thing and get rid now
Start to build a new team with younger players for next season.
Make the signings that it requires to get Milan back in the running for the scudetto
on the 27th April, 2014 at 3:13pm
@Ferban
There's a terrifying vision of the future. If we are lucky Drogba will be signed to and Rio Ferdinand or Puyol in Defense.

One way or another Balo need to be sold as milan are broke and need the funds to strengthen and he is still the only valuable asset. I for one would much rather see him leave than the little Pharaoh, desiglio or abate.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 2:51pm
Susy, Susy - let's drop Pjanic into this Milan team, and he will struggle. Boban is a pretentious clown anyway, so his opinion is void before he opens his mouth. Put a good quality striker alongside Balotelli like he had at Inter with Ibrahimovic, and you will see the difference. I have never seen so many managers persist with playing him as a lone striker when it is clear he not consistent enough in that role.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 2:04pm
I watched the interview. The pundits were deliberately provocative and disrespectful. Find it a bit rich that Boban and Panucci can give Balo a hard time, Boban spent the last few seasons at mila like ha was on holiday and Panucci gets the hump when his manager asks him to warm up. Marocchi was a squad player at Juve who was happy keeping the bench warm. There is something not right about mila, all the players have been arguing with each other but when it's mario it's a blown out of proportion.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 2:01pm
Immobile, Destro, Toni, Cassano, Cerci, and Rossi all deserve to go to Brazil over Balotelli.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 1:13pm
@ Pippo spot on.

@ FERBAN yes that's what Milan should do this summer. Play around with the strikers again. Leave the defence as is.

@ Sheva De Jong has been awful this season. He's no positional sense and is one of the reasons we've conceded so many goals. He won't just stand in front of the defence. He also loses the ball a lot. Just because he tries hard doesn't make him good. Balo loses the ball in the last third. De Jong loses the ball in the first third. Slight difference.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 12:48pm
@ Daniel Giambrone I support Milan and have very little respect for the hierarchy so many Balo is onto somethig. I've yet to see him complain given what's going on in the club. In fact its arguably been his most disciplined season. All he's done wrong is lost it a little against Napoli and defended himself in a post match interview. Both incidents shows he cares.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 12:44pm
I watched the interview after reading the report. I expected to see an outburst. I saw the opposite. Balotelli was calm and dignified.
So Balotelli didn’t play well. A lot of players and teams have been well beaten at the Olimpico this season. The after game focus should have been about how good Roma were and that Milan are clearly inferior to them this season.
Balotelli has 14 goals this season playing for an unconvincing team. Sure, there’s things he could be doing better. Why don’t we get rid of the hysteria.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 12:03pm
@maldini heir
I remember a time you told me id look ridiculous when balo proves me wrong- im still waiting!!! And while I wait you look more and more ridiculous making excuses for him!
@ SantAntonioCassano
They said what 90% of ppl think. We need to stop wrapping him in cotton wool. The critics in italy are harsh- and always have been they wernt any worse than they would have been on any other player who is as lazy, disrespectful, useless as balo. Glad they spoke up.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 10:45am

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