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...
I think Mario needs two kinds of talking to which will say the same thing: one a harsh frank talk from a bigger ego and another from a gentle appealing voice. The content - Mario, up your work rate and fulfill your potential!
on the 1st May, 2014 at 10:43pm
@this is silly
Completely agree, Balo has squeezed out 14 goals on a disgustingly average Milan team. LOL, take out Balo and Milan probably would have finished 15th instead of 10th.
on the 30th April, 2014 at 3:22am
Ok. Hes a star. Bring him.
on the 29th April, 2014 at 9:43pm
@ mm but that's not how it works. Balo has international and European experience. Immobile and Destro don't. Andrea Silenzi didn't get to go to the world cup either. How about Lucarelli? Igro Protti? One season doesn't qualify you for the world cup. Its a number of seasons. Did you see the 8 goals in the last 12 games stat knocking about on the other blog. You must have a serious chip on your shoulder if you doubt those stats!
on the 29th April, 2014 at 8:57pm
@maldini heir
I totally agree that the discussion isnt about balotelli the player. So make it about the player. He has had an 'average' season- so how can we pick a player who MIGHT play well, its not very fair is it? This goes for monto and others. If balotelli was having a season like immobile or destro then id definetly not be saying leave him at home. I think verratti should be used over monto 100%. So based on performance cassano, imob, destro should all go. Is that an unfair comment?
on the 29th April, 2014 at 4:32pm
@ jimmy_stallion yes he should definitely go from being a starter in Euro 2012 and qualifiers to being a super-sub. That would make lots of sense. Especially has his game has improved in the past few years. Seriously try using that logic with any other player and then you might see how ridiculous this sounds.
on the 29th April, 2014 at 11:47am
@ mm so where was the criticism of Kaka and Monty? Bonera was given the highest rating. Why pick on one player? These weren't insightful questions which focused on the crux of the issue. They were personal attacks. Balo breaks down in tears against Napoli and he's attention seeking and then next minute he's only interested in his pay cheque. Its boring. Please stop writing about Balo because you never say anything new.You don't like him but he's going to the world cup so get over it and yourself
on the 29th April, 2014 at 11:44am
mario is essential for italy.CT must pick him ahead of every one.he is unpredictable he change the quickly with his effeciancy or false.he behave better every time with nazionale.italy must look youngsters for future.desro, immobile,el shaa,insigne,verratti,bernardeshi... they r d future stars
on the 29th April, 2014 at 5:09am
To be fair, he should't take all the blame. But on the other end, he is not the star player you build a team around. I still bring him to Brazil, but in a supersub role as I go with the existing Turino duo to start.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 10:35pm
Verbally abused??? They said what they saw. I see no abuse. They said what most of italy thinks. You clearly dont watch italian football programs on rai. They are remorseless in italy- they tear everyone apart. From manager to players. There are many football pundits that have spoke of balotelli and his attitude on the pitch and his work rate. Gilardino sweats on the way to the pitch- does that mean we should be subjected to more of him too!? The arguements some ppl make for balo are ridiculous
on the 28th April, 2014 at 9:52pm
When Balotelli plays for Italy he sweats blood. He loves Italy with all his heart. He had no service against my beloved Roma. Everyone is on his case all the time, yes he doesn't always help himself but imagine living your life where everything you say and do is put under a microscore and analysised, that must be awful. I believe in Mario and instead of everyone finding fault in him we should be behind him. Forza MARIO Forza Italia.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 7:15pm
Exactly, Immobile gives 100% and has scored 21 goals this season. Tracks back, runs like hell, never sulks, and has actually more pace than Balotelli (who's not as fast as people make him out to be). He's already had a better season than Mario ever has, and is only one year older. He has to go to the World Cup and help the team (not to mention gain experience for the Euro and WC 2018) at all costs. Along with Destro, the real future of Italy in the forward position.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 4:10pm
@ anonymous yes because other strikers don't have any downsides. Cassano is not a) also lazy and b) could have heartache. Immobile does not lack experience at European and international level. Ditto Destro. Toni has so much more to his game than goals. There's zero risk in bringing Totti to the WC. Everything's rosie elsewhere and Balo is the root of all problems. Actually Balo is probably behind the Malaysian airline. There was that King Kong cartoon in the Gazzetta. Wait a minute......
on the 28th April, 2014 at 4:03pm
@ mm where are you getting this cotton wool from? He got verbally abused on national television in what barely passed for an interview. He confronted the Milan ultras after the Parma game. He gets all the blame when Milan lose. If anything we need to apply more cotton wool. All I am saying is that Balo is not my main concern and I don't believe he should be Milan or Italy's. That's it. Move along nothing to see here.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:56pm
@maldini heir
I agree with what your saying, it is boring. But is it in your opinion correct that balotelli based on his 'amazing' performances this session could be the reason that an immobile destro or cassano gets left at home?
He is the problem, because the team run and run and run and he strolls about moaning that the ball hasnt landed directly to him. Im bored of seeing italy and milan treat this spoilt child like he is something special. Why should they wrap in cotton wool?
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:28pm
Yes. Everyone. Maldini heir has the answer. Focus a bit more on mario balotelli. The vital ingredient for world cup success is to give a striker more training on how to strike, move, run, positioning and most importantly when to dive and when not to! This, italy's 'best striker' needs more focus from coaching staff, managers on how to shoot! Great idea, thats the way to boost the moral of those players who give 100% week in and week out n actually do there job, focus more on balotelli!
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:19pm
@ anonymous I wonder why its seems SES and Balo seem to get on off the pitch. In fact they should compliment each other. My view is that SES will become at 10-15 goals plus assists and movement player (regardless of who he plays with) and Balo could be a 20 - 25 goals plus assists player. Add goals from midfield (I'm looking at you Kaka, Saponara, Honda and Monty) and I'd be happy with that provided we can stop conceding goals by the bucket load.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:13pm
@ mm yes I argue with statistics and I look ridiculous and you argue with opinion and......Unless you're prepared to say something new its just boring. Some people have come on here and actually engaged in a discussion about Balo and more importantly Milan's problems. Balo is not Milan or Italy's main concern. There are so many more important things to talk about. I always think the correlation between important issues and media coverage is always fairly lose and Balo is a case in point.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:09pm
I have never rated him as a player and never will. He is simply an average player with a big head. If he were a little bit more mature and acted more like a champion and less like a moody brooding teenager then he should be included in the squad as a sub. He makes good newspaper headlines with his stupid behavour. If I had my way I ill drop him all together and take Pazzini in his place.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 3:03pm
@Daniel Giambrone
We are not talking about baggio, We are talking about balotelli being compared to totti who isnt and has never been classed as an out and out striker. We might as well compare him to buffon! The fact is imobile, destro, toni and cassano are all better than balotelli. So why should any of them be left at home for balotelli? Why risk a world cup on 1 man who clearly angers players too. Milan players look fed up with him, they spoon feed him nd still nothing but lazy attitude!
on the 28th April, 2014 at 2:03pm
I really like some of his snappy passes (Taarabt could learn from this). His defensive play from corners is also excellent. His downsides are his movement, his consistency and his tendency to dive at the wrong times. I have no opinion on his personality because there's so many made up stories about him. His goal record is decent and needs improving. He's definitely not Milan or Italy's primary concern. Both need to work on their defences. Milan especially.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 12:57pm
@ Daniel Giambrone A fair assessment of Balo's international career. I'd add he showed glimpses in the first game against Spain but then that miss!? His awful dive on Friday reminded me of that. This is the thing though there's so much to his game that needs improving and focus which is why this rubbish is so annoying. There's no focus. Just personal insults and media hype. For me his big pros are his unpredictably, his strength, his shot and the speed (not always accuracy)of his passing.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 12:54pm
@maldini heir
Ses stopped scoring the week balo arrived! Says it all I think
on the 28th April, 2014 at 12:34pm
@Maldini h
Totti at 21 was at roma. Where he has been all through his career and where he will end. Real, barca, bayern and a host of other clubs wanted him but he stayed loyal to roma and more importantly roma wanted him to stay- unlike balo who has been sent packing from each team his been at. He may have 'won' at numerous clubs but unfortunately those teams would still have won without him as he was at best a squad player who came off the bench in afew games. Keep arguing you look ridiculous
on the 28th April, 2014 at 12:33pm
@ Viktor Milan have conceded 46 (FORTY SIX) league goals in 35 matches. Milan's average possession this season is 43% (FORTY THREE PERCENT). De Jong plays in defensive midfield and his job is a) to assist the defence so that we don't concede goals and b) to retain possession. I guess this is Balo's fault though. I don't think we should get rid of De Jong just yet (although I'd prefer to see a MF partnership of Monty and Poli) but he's ahead of Balo in the list of priorities.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 11:43am
but unlike totti he is a player who is not frightened by the bigger occasion
on the 28th April, 2014 at 10:02am
Luca tonI has been a great player and is having a great season but his displays in 2008 and the confed cup were wofull at best. I Doubt at 36 whether he will be able to deal withe the heat and humidity in brazil. Balotelli is 23 years old and prandelli is doing the right thing by looking to the future. Yes i concede that totti and balo are different players,and agree balotelli's movement and attitude is questionable at times. However like totti he is a player who can do something out of nothing
on the 28th April, 2014 at 10:00am
@ anonymous you people are desperate. You try and pick apart every single statistic about Balo. The fact is Totti has scored huge numbers of goals for Roma but never really scored for Italy. I am not for a second saying Balo is at this stage anywhere near Totti (although he has had more success than Totti did at his age) but its funny how other players are taken on face value and with Balo its...most of his goals are pens, he doesn't score in big games, he only scored v Germany. Its boring
on the 28th April, 2014 at 9:10am
@ Baggiot class balotelli not! Andrea Silenzi scored the same number of goals as Baggio in 93/94 season. He didn't get to go to the world cup. Every season one striker hits form and scores lots of goals. Last season was SES. I'm a huge fan of SES but I think it was a freak season for him. Toni's has always scored and I want not be against bringing him. Immobile is untested. Balo has played and produced in a major tournament. The only reason to exclude him is personal.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 9:04am
As for 2012, Balotelli's performances game by game: poor against Spain-who can forget that 1 v 1 vs Casillas; average vs Croatia; scored a nice goal vs Ireland (the worst team in the tournament); poor vs England; great vs Germany; poor against Spain, as was the rest of the team. Overall though, he has been good for Italy. Performances vs Denmark, Brazil, & CF Cup, before injury stand out. His partnership with Rossi (vs Nigeria) looked very promising.
on the 28th April, 2014 at 7:59am

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