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Saturday November 30 2019
Balotelli back to square one

Mario Balotelli’s time at Brescia has already hit controversy, as Martin Mork outlines the striker’s latest troubled tenure.

When Brescia President Massimo Cellino announced that he was bringing Mario Balotelli back to Lombardy this summer, there were mixed feelings of expectations and fear. The return of the lost son has only confirmed the reason why he left in the first place.

It of course pleased his mother to see her son return to his roots. She publicly welcomed the player back to Brescia with open arms, and it seemed like the fans and the team did the same. In expectance of a new leader for their newly promoted ranks, they were all admiring the possibilities of using the 29-year-old’s vast experience from top teams in England and France. But experience doesn’t always go hand in hand with maturity.

The football player Balotelli is as inconsistent as the person, but when he’s on form, he’s arguably one of the greatest talents out there. His behaviour off the pitch, on the other hand, attracted him unwanted attention at an early age. Combining the exciting prospect on the football pitch with the escapades he has pulled off the pitch throughout the years, the stories are too many to be listed. The tales of success are braided with the off-pitch antics and the former Inter man has gone from hero to villain in seconds wherever he goes.

After ending a fairly successful spell in Ligue 1, also then somewhat troubled by his relationship to coaches and fans, the player returned to Italy to find a country that hadn’t changed since he left. He had previously stated that he wouldn’t return, and the motivation became clearer with each week he had been back.

Balotelli is a person that needs to be protected by his club and the latest events at Brescia are showing no signs of awareness. The constant pressure from the journalists isn’t really helping the boy either. Already before his first appearance at the club, a video of Balotelli smoking a cigarette circulated in the media and you could sense the kind of exposure he would be dealing with. But he didn’t do too badly on the pitch, it actually looked promising. He just needed to find his feet again – give him some time to shine. Cigarette or no cigarette.

He didn’t get time to put out the cigarette before burning his fingers on a glowing filter tip. Because in November, Balotelli understandably reacted very strongly to racist chants from some sections of the Hellas Verona crowd. The player kicked the ball towards the source of the monkey noises in the stands, refused to continue and tried to leave the pitch. In the end he was convinced by his teammates and the opposition to stay on and even scored. However, in the aftermath, Balotelli had to fight his corner, mostly on his own.

And it’s been boiling ever since. The attention continues to follow him, and his own immaturity is of course not helping. But the fact that he doesn’t feel welcome in his own country is particularly sad for a man who has brought the nation some good memories also through the Azzurri.

Journalists have been surrounding Balotelli again, waiting for it to boil over. And eventually it did. The Brescia fans didn’t even take his side, claiming they were embarrassed with his reaction and mental state during the game against Hellas Verona. A clash with the new coach Fabio Grosso on the training ground led to the player leaving the facilities during a session and President Cellino didn’t do a great deal to calm the situation. He rather threw fresh cogs into the fireplace with some thought-provoking language to describe the player’s state of mind.

The culture in Italy doesn’t help and the saddest part is that the solution might be for Balotelli to flee. Change environment completely. A reported move to Turkey might not help. It’s too close to home. The interest from MLS might actually be able to save his career. He’s only 29 years old. A young man in most other professions.

His abilities are proven to be more than qualified to participate in any top league in Europe. It’s the mentality that stops him from greatness. It’s become a well-known risk to hire Balotelli as your main man and it’s not the first time he’s been told to thicken up. He needs to be protected; he needs an environment that supports him no matter what.

A potential transfer to America might even get him out of the media for a while. Other stars have found their quiet places in the US, left to their own and maybe not as highly regarded as footballers are in Europe. But it’s all very sad to see a player flee because of what’s rooted as a cultural behavioural problem.

It’s understandable that the treatment makes him feel foreign in his own country, but if the solution is that such a talent should be left to his own on a different continent, maybe it’s not just Balotelli who needs to look himself in the mirror.

Have your say...
@anonymous
You're right. The other stat i particularly like is how many teams he's been to and sacked/sold/given away. Truly outlandish stats Ronaldo and Messi have nothing on Balotelli.
I hope he gets a big money offer and goes to China where he can shine amongst the greats of modern football.
Balotelli is a once in a life time player like Baggio, Rivera and Riva, players of this level leave lasting memories and super Mario is doing that as we speak, in Serie B he might break goal records
on the 10th December, 2019 at 11:06am
It's also funny that you said Balotelli is useless at supporting the team when of all Brescia's strikers, Balotelli averaged the most amount of passes per game as well as the best pass accuracy.

Brescia has a lot of problems on the pitch. Balotelli isn't one of them. I said he has been the best Brescia player on the pitch for a while and the stats backed it up.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 11:33am
@Pinturicchio That's why I told you to read the article (which you didn't). We're talking about his time AT Brescia not BEFORE Brescia. So answer me, what did Balotelli do after arriving at Brescia BEFORE the racism saga?

Donnaruma hasn't scored for TWO months. The last 3 goals Brescia scored, 2 were from Balotelli and 1 from Tonali. If you bothered to check the last 4 Brescia's games that Balotelli played in, he was rated the highest in 3 of them and the 2nd highest in the other.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 11:28am
(Part 2 of 2) Since I can clearly see through your ruse of you being a troglodyte with too much FIFA skills and a crush on Balotelli, you conveniently ignored my facts. Also, if you want to talk about performance: Mario has 2 goals in 600+ minutes i.e. 300 minutes per goal; Donnarumma has 4 goals in 800 minutes i.e. 200 minutes per goal. Mario, additionally, shows little drive to fall back/add to attacking play; he's lethargic and just useless in supporting the team. 
on the 5th December, 2019 at 10:59am
@Anonymous

since you ask for corroboration, and try to act like you're not a troll, here are some FACTS:

"And again, I asked specifically what he did BEFORE the racism saga." ++PLUS++ "See, you can't even point to any trouble he caused before the Verona debacle because it's literally non-existent."

I countered with a list of FACTS, and mentioned he's never performed with 20/30 goals in 1 season.

You resorted to ad-hominem attacks.

(Part 1 of 2)
on the 5th December, 2019 at 10:53am
If you think he presented valid points and I didn't, why don't you challenge this article

https://www.football-italia.net/147151/cellino-brescia-cant-lose-balotelli

Here's a look of how Balotelli has been doing statistically by an impartial party

https://www.whoscored.com/Teams/144/Show/Italy-Brescia

Challenge me with your facts please, Pinturicchio
on the 5th December, 2019 at 9:53am
If I ever presented false facts then feel free to point me on it instead of calling me a troll. Ita said Brescia wanted to get rid of Balotelli, I pointed him towards an article that said otherwise.

Can you do the same, Pinturicchio? point me towards facts, data, or articles if you can to challenge my arguments.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 9:49am
Wow Pinturicchio, that's big talk coming from someone who resorted to personal attack instead of presenting facts as arguments. You said he argued using logic? I pointed him towards actual articles and facts while he went off tangent with unrelated answers.

How about you yourself? you still haven't answered any of my questions. Actually none of you were able to. If your best come back is that I used "anonymous" instead of challenging me with actual facts, then clearly you're the troll.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 9:47am
@ITA

"Never argue with fools, the more you argue with them using logic, the dumber their arguments become... and then, finally, they dumb you down to their level of idiocy and beat you with experience"

The biggest red-flag for you not to engage this brainless troll should've been the fact that he prefers to hide under a generalized pseudonym "Anonymous", and on multiple occasions refused to acknowledge your valid points... Hopefully you learned your lesson, my friend :-)
on the 5th December, 2019 at 7:12am
If that's an attempt at sarcasm it's a very poor one. You simply described exactly what was happening (as admitted by Cellino) although Balotelli actually took a pay cut on his own volition to join Brescia.
on the 5th December, 2019 at 1:47am
Anonymous I give up. You win. Balotelli is phenomenal he has been electric since his arrival and the club/fans/players and board are to blame for not protecting him more and paying him enough. Whats wrong with us we are all blind.
on the 4th December, 2019 at 5:38pm
Ah so you're back to blaming Balotelli for Brescia's form now and yet still refused to acknowledge the rest of the team has been even worse than him. Even the crazy Cellino can see that and you can't, I'd honestly be worried if I was crazier than Cellino.

What do I want? let's see, how about telling me 1 player who could save Brescia from relegation all by himself aside from Messi? maybe that could snap your brain to rationalize your expectation a little more on the realistic side.
on the 4th December, 2019 at 4:46pm
@anonymous
Can you not read? I said your right. They obviously took all your wisdom and decided that keep the 'goals scoring machine' to ensure relegation by Feb. I mean what do uou want from us man!
on the 4th December, 2019 at 4:28pm
@Ita now you're just making things up. Why don't you click that Brescia logo on the right? you'll see an article about how Massimo Cellino admitted he was wrong and that Brescia must keep Balotelli. How about that?
on the 4th December, 2019 at 2:59pm
Anonymous
Present day ok. You're right. So present day his astonishing form has Brescia fighting to get rid of him in January. Better??
on the 4th December, 2019 at 1:43pm
@Pinturicchio point me to where I said Balotelli deserves adulation and a champion if you can. Go on, I'll wait. I said Balotelli has been Brescia's best player and that's a fact. Whether you think he's talented or not a champion has no correlation to how he's doing right now or the backstabbing drama.

I told you to read the article first and you can't even follow such simple request. Really, maybe question your own reading comprehension first before throwing manure at other people.
on the 4th December, 2019 at 12:53pm
@Ita you're just arguing semantics at this point, desperate are you? "For a while" could refer to however long even if just a few months. How about sticking to present day facts instead of going off tangent on your ridiculous delusions? try not to put words onto other people's mouths if you want to have a healthy discussion.
on the 4th December, 2019 at 12:01pm
It's clear now that @Anonymous is a blithering pile of steaming horse-manure.

He says Balotelli is talented and deserves adulation, but resorts to ad-hominem attacks when questioned about the veracity of such claims.

When provided proof to the contrary, he makes no effort to explain why Balotelli, at 29, deserves to be called a champion. Not once, irrespective of whether he was happy or struggling, has Balo scored 20+ goals in a league or scored 30+ goals in a season...
on the 4th December, 2019 at 11:52am
Anonymous
He's been their best for a while.. he only just got there which is what makes you look even more ridiculous.
Soon you will be telling me that the only reason Brescia got promoted was because they knew the 'lost son' was coming back to Italy!
on the 4th December, 2019 at 8:14am
@Pinturicchio another idiot who didn't read the article. No one's talking about Balotelli's past misdeeds or failures here. As I said to the other guy, how about actually trying to read the article for a minute? I'm not gonna repeat my previous arguments with the other idiots. Come back to me after you can discern the point of this article.
on the 4th December, 2019 at 1:53am
@Anonymouse

You want examples?

=> Mancini tells Balo, who's on a yellow, to not get sent off. Balo gets sent off within 3 mins of 2nd half...

=> He states he's a Milan fan, gets to play for Milan, still plays horribly and transfers to City

=> Caught throwing darts at City's youth players, always in news for wrong reasons, transferred to France

=> Nice coach repeatedly backs Balo, but Balo continues with his shenanigans

=> Transfers to Brescia, out already

Where is the performance?
on the 3rd December, 2019 at 10:43pm
I mentioned Tonali because you kept harping about Balotelli's ability and supposedly failed performance. That's why I asked from the beginning what do you expect from him actually? Balotelli has been Brescia's best player for a while but no matter how good he is, he's not gonna save this Brescia team. It's quite unreasonable to expect him to drag them up even if he somehow fulfills his hidden potential. Messi is probably the only one who can improve that team by himself.
on the 3rd December, 2019 at 1:58pm
@Ita who called you a racist? read the comment again and you'll find no such thing. The incident at Verona and Brescia though was clearly racism and I'm not sure why you're trying to make this about Balotelli's talent when the crowd was clearly chanting monkey noises.

This article's not talking about his abilities. The "square 1" was not referring to his abilities. How about trying to read the article for a minute? you're the one who's making this about Balo's failed potential.
on the 3rd December, 2019 at 1:54pm
Anoymous
The article is about Balotelli. So not going to write about Tonali.
Why is Balotelli back to square 1? Why is Balotelli always back to square 1 within a season or in this case 3 months? Why is Balotelli always the victim? The answer- because in he really isn't that good and has failed to ever live up to the hype BUT for people like you the answer is "because he is black". So I ask you how is a white man supposed to voice an opinion or critise a black player without being called racist?
on the 3rd December, 2019 at 11:32am
@Ita way to deflect the argument. No one said he should be in the NT or that you're racist. What's clear however is that for whatever reason you refuse to acknowledge the fact that he made no trouble whatsoever until everyone at his club back stabbed him. I don't know why you're so obsessed with rehashing his failed potential, how about trying to watch an actual game for once? if Balotelli's a failure in Brescia then I don't know what you'd call Tonali who has been worse than him on the pitch
on the 3rd December, 2019 at 4:42am
@anonymous
You win. We surrender. Everyone who thinks Balotelli is utter crap is... racist. Happy now? Mancini is also racist as he didn't pick him to be part of a team of players who all do as they need to on and off the pitch but hey Balotelli, a striker that doesn't score, doesn't pass, doesn't do a great deal MUST be in the squad because if not everyone is racist until he is back in the squad!
Shocking if you ask me!
on the 2nd December, 2019 at 8:47pm
That's irrelevant to his situation Brescia now. You're hating just for the sake of hating due to his past misdemeanor.

See, you can't even point to any trouble he caused before the Verona debacle because it's literally non-existent. You just don't want to admit that despite your irrational hate, whatever problem Balotelli has right now at Brescia was mostly caused by external factors or that Balotelli still remains Brescia's best player despite the racism or whatever nonsense Grosso spouted
on the 2nd December, 2019 at 5:38pm
@anon Learn to be concise. I don’t enjoy reading a 3 post rant. I won’t be replying again. Feel free to have the last word.

Balotelli has rare moments of magic. Grosso was banking on it. That doesn’t negate the huge problems (on and off field), problems that in a better squad outweigh any hope of magic hence no big (or medium) clubs want him. He has long since lost the courtesy of the benefit of the doubt.

Racism is a nonsense excuse. Koulibaly gets it. Still performs week in week out.
on the 2nd December, 2019 at 4:42pm
And again, I asked specifically what he did BEFORE the racism saga. This whole drama started after he was abused at Verona and then snowballed into everyone from the fans to the president joining in instead of backing him up. The whole point of this article is the subsequent drama (bust up and what not) wouldn't be as bad if the club had backed Balotelli against the unwarranted abuse. He was being a good kid until he saw that everyone around him was a backstabber.
on the 2nd December, 2019 at 4:11pm
"should've burried that clear chance"

So in the end you ended up blaming Balotelli for Brescia's loss even though he was the only one trying? Should've, would've, could've.. you act like missing a chance is a sign of a bad striker. What about Lautaro fumbling that one-on-one? is he bad now too?

How about a comment about Tonali who did nothing at all throughout that game? or is he eternally blameless because he's the golden child of Italian football?
on the 2nd December, 2019 at 4:07pm

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