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Monday August 19 2019
Balotelli is back in town

Mario Balotelli returns to Serie A with his home-town club Brescia and Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall wonders if he'll finally find stability.

"Finally, I am coming home to MY CITY. Brescia, I'm here. #homecoming" Mario Balotelli announced on Instagram that he was returning to Italy with his home-town club Brescia. After a summer of conjecture about his final destination, he now has the move he wanted and probably needed.

Just how much can Super Mario offer the Rondinelle and will this be the right move for him? Now he is under the watchful eye of fiery President Massimo Cellino and back in the Italia media spotlight, what can go wrong? Buckle up, because it’s going to be fun.

One thing that cannot be overlooked is how much it has lifted Brescia before the season even starts. The former Marseille striker’s contract had expired, the French club chose not to extend it despite Balo scoring eight goals in 15 appearances for them. Before this, the 29-year-old had spent two and a half years on the Cote D’Azur with OGC Nice, where he totalled an impressive 33 goals in his first 51 appearances. Despite it looking like he had final found a home where he was happy, relationships fell apart, particularly with Patrick Vieira.

After leaving Marseille it was perhaps no surprise that his wage and reputation put off many suitors, yet the two that would compete were from very different spheres of the footballing world. He could return to the Stadio Mario Rigamonti to fulfil the dream of playing for Brescia upon their return to Serie A or alternatively go to Brazil.

The idea of Balotelli playing for Flamengo alongside the infamous Gabriel Barbosa sets the mind racing. Imagine what destruction they could cause on the pitch; imagine what destruction they could cause at carnival time. Even so, the best move that never happened (and the best documentary never to have happened) now lies in the past.

Brescia are no newcomers to the scene of career revivals, just think of those who passed through here and rediscovered their mojo, such as Roberto Baggio, Pep Guardiola, Luca Toni and Gheorghe Hagi.

What is key for Brescia is that this move is not just one that wins hearts and minds. Balotelli is still a very good player and his aforementioned record with both Marseille and OGC Nice speaks for itself. OGC did not want to let him go, but the debacle with the ownership and his increasing frustrations with the Coach saw it come to an unfortunate end.

In fact, his time there was a professional one where he felt at home by his own admission and enjoyed the ‘big fish, small pond’ tag. The tinderbox of Marseille also looked like it may be a bridge too far, but once again he was professional and it was only the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League that forced them to let him go, as they could not afford him.

Le Rondinelle cannot take much from pre-season, but for the record it has been fairly good, although the exit to Perugia in the Coppa can be seen as a blessing rather than a disappointment. Whilst everyone is surely dreaming of watching Sandro Tonali ping disgracefully accurate passes to the feet of Balotelli, as he then finishes with gusto, the reality will be much harsher. Brescia will be up against it, and whilst the likes of Alfredo Donnarumma will offer a good partner for Mario, their relatively young team will have to look to the old heads of Daniele Dessena, Daniele Gastaldello and Mario to help them out.  

So, there we have it, Balotelli is back and somewhere he can invest in. If the striker can offer as much as he did at OGC Nice, then Brescia have made one of the signings of the summer, but this maybe a little too excitable for now. Coach Eugenio Corini now has a grenade to add to his arsenal and it is much needed. He just needs to make sure it goes off after he releases it.

Have your say...
@Lord vader We have been saying that for 10 years and still we wait! When will this man show this endless talent he apparently has, lets keep waiting and hoping. Funny thing is.... This time next year we will be here reading the same thing ahead of a new season but there will be 2 questions to answer; the first is the same as it has been year after year, 'when will he show us this apparent talent?' The second is more open question 'which team will he move to after annoying Brescia?'
on the 22nd August, 2019 at 11:14pm
I think this great for Serie A and really great for Brescia.
Hopefully he dedicates himself he shows and reaches his best form ever.
on the 22nd August, 2019 at 5:30am
Balotelli is a good player but he has wasted his talented he is same case like cassano. I don't think Mancini should call him up for EURO 2020 as Italy are playing good without him. If he does get called him they should start him on the bench so he can learn some manners. No wonder other top clubs refused to buy him in the summer.
on the 22nd August, 2019 at 12:37am
@CG
Totally agree.
Anyone on here excited by his return highlights everything that is wrong with Italian football!!! In the 90s this man would have been gracing the fields of Serie C and even that would have been too much. The worst part is Moise Kean says Balotelli is his idol, which really underlines how deluded youngsters are in 2019!
@toto
above average? a cannon? quick instincts? I think you need wake up. If he was so great he wouldn't be sent packing after 1 year from every club!
on the 21st August, 2019 at 10:06am
He is another osvaldo or cassano never really amount to anything the guy has got the talent pace, power, strength and technique but the mind of a 14 year old. He might do the job for brescia for a year he has shown he can be consistent for that amount of time.

I personally would like to see the guy actually become a man it is frustrating he see players waste their ability besides the point he has a responsibility to the fans himself and his family to succeed.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 7:40pm
FORZA BALO!
on the 19th August, 2019 at 7:39pm
He is a business man, always was and always will be. always managed top dollar for spectacle. He has technical ability and physicallity, but lacks the guile and understanding to use any of it.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 7:02pm
I wish Mario all the best. Hopefully his return to Serie A will be a successful one.
If he behaves, the press behaves and the fans behave then there will be no excuse and no reason why we shouldn`t get to enjoy the MASSIVELY talented SuperMario again.
Forza Milan!
on the 19th August, 2019 at 6:38pm
I wish Mario and Brescia all the best. It would be nice to see the club stay up for a while. As for Balotelli, I have no faith in his being able to stay focused for more than a few matches but hope that he will find a new motivation. He should call Antonio Cassano and get some life advice.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 6:33pm
So happy Mario is back in Italy, hopefully the media stays away from him so he can go about his business in peace. Tonali and him could be reminiscent of a young Pirlo and Baggio for Brescia. Hopefully he finds form and makes his way back into the Azzurri squad because he could be very useful for the Euros. Forza Mario.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 5:55pm
@CG couldnt disgree more!

I can't wait to see Balotelli grace serie a again, he is an absolute character who will enrich the drama of the league and still scores spectacular goals! also as his record from the last few years show - he is back scoring regularly again.

This season is shaping up very nicely with the big names of Buffon and Balotelli coming home and the new arrivals of lukaku, Alexis, Godin, Rabiot and de ligt all heading to the penisula! roll on next weekend!
on the 19th August, 2019 at 5:16pm
Even Marco Branca was smart enough to SELL Balotelli, unlike Ausilio who dumped Nainggolan for a free loan and unable to sell Perisic when they could have got 45 mill for him in the past.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 5:09pm
Yikes @ CG… the guy is not the president. He’s a far above average striker with a cannon and quick instincts. Yes, he’s juvenile, and he has qualities not to admire, and also qualities to admire. Not sure why you are appalled that people want to watch a bad boy and a playboy who scores some fantastic goals. And I have many memories of him. Some good. Some bad.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 4:08pm
Always bothers me how people STILL get excited by this oxygen thief. He is undisciplined, ill-mannered, has a bad attitude and is totally overrated. Are these the qualities in a player that we are required to admire? What example is this setting to the youngsters of today. I hope Brescia gets relegated, so he can go play in India or China or some other faraway place, and be completely forgotten, like the bad memory he is and always will be.
on the 19th August, 2019 at 11:52am

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