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...
All the Balotelli haters carry on, I don't really care if he''s disinterested in the league as long as he turns up at the world cup with a point to prove. He won't be the only player to save his A game for the competition that matters. Cassano, Totti, Mancini etc they have all had a petulant side to them, accept it and then back him when it matters. I'm getting good odds for Balo to be top scorer at world cup
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:26am
Balo's attitude makes him an easy target but ppl forget only De Jong & De Sciglio have been consistently good.The team have improved under Seedorf but Seedorf is really limiting them with the 4-2-3-1.He is risking losing Honda & Saponara to keep Kaka who has maybe 1 good year left in him.The club should get rid of dead weight & force Seedorf to incorporate youngsters in the team.Cristante & De Scgilio are better than the whole squad.Paloschi is injury free and has 13 goals.Time to bring him back
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:06am
Normally I'd never sell young players for money but this may be an exception.

Here's what should happen : Milan sell Balotelli to Chelsea for 30m (or Monaco who will pay even more) and Milan offer Torino/Juve 20m for Immobile.

Here's what will happen : Milan sell him for 24m, let Immobile go to Dortmund and sign Torres to replace him and tell the fans that have signed a "superstar".
on the 27th April, 2014 at 9:03am
From a football perspective,Balo can't take all the blame.He clearly has deficiencies like positioning,off the ball movement,& decision making & playing as a lone striker exposes all these things.It's up to Seedorf to either play Pazzini as the lone frontman or play both in a two striker system which brings out the best in both.Seedorf has improved the team physically & psychologically but limited them tactically(especially Balo & Honda) in a system which ironically he hated as a player.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:48am
Brilliant article..a child in a mans body. He will not change and will continue doing what he does. Look at Cassano! Two peas in a pod! How many teams has Balo played for so far at 23 yrs old? He'll leave Milan this year to with no european action! Overated, disruptive, lazy and a bad attitude. When the going gets tough he disappears on the pitch, good players fight for every ball even when losing. Is this what we need in Brazil?
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:30am
@Maldini's Heir. Balotelli may well support Milan, but that doesn't mean that he respects the club & everyone associated with it. If he did respect the club, surely he would put in 100% week in week out & act like a professional. I wouldn't bring his ethnicity into this matter either. He gets this stick because he is acts like a petulant child. You are spot on about the real issue, & that is the hierarchy: indecision, incompetent, no clear direction etc.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 8:09am
Brilliant! This is what I've been waiting for!!! Now, Italy will win this year's World Cup in Brazil!!! Let me explain, for Italy to win a World Cup there needs to be some kind of controversy - 1982 Rossi Scandal, 2006 - Calcio Scandal, 2014 - Balotelli-gate! Yes, keep it up Mario! :)
on the 27th April, 2014 at 7:33am
His attitude when playing for Italy is totally different, when I think he mostly shines. My only concern is his inconsistent form. At this stage of the season it's a little worrying. He's still a must for Brazil, unless Prandelli's code of ethics dictates othetwise then his place might be in jeopardy. .. he really needs to stop acting the victim, the whole thing is boring now.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 6:55am
This is ridiculous. Do reporters dare tell any other player they don't run enough and insinuate that they are not as good as portrayed on live television? It's obnoxious that this interview even took place, imagine if it happened to any other athlete. "So Kobe, you take too many shots and are selfish, don't you think you would do better for the team if you passed more?". Would never happen. They abuse this poor guy, and he acted with total composure. He is on a crap team with a crap coach
on the 27th April, 2014 at 4:45am
It's time for B&G to move Balo while Prandelli better think twice before including him the azzurri Brazi roster. We wouldn't be putting our best foot forward by including both Balo or Monto on the azzurri.
on the 27th April, 2014 at 4:06am
Somewhere there is a man eager to grab his chance,struggled with injury but made an effort to comeback,he managed to bring his goal scoring boots with him to add to his versatility. He is the same age as balo but when he does something wrong he gets punished rather harshly and never gets the same excuses as balo. He currently has the highest goal ratio per minute in serie A. Find him and give him his chance Prandelli,will ya?
on the 27th April, 2014 at 12:25am
@ Mustaafaaaa I was responding to Viktor's comment that this math was somehow the last straw. You'll see from my other comments my thoughts on this. My eyes are wide open and I'm looking forward to seeing him lead the line for Italy this summer and putting this awful season with Milan behind me!
on the 26th April, 2014 at 11:03pm
@ paul Why did Conte sign Osvaldo then? Or is Osvaldo more professional than Balo?
on the 26th April, 2014 at 10:54pm
When is someone going to write about Kaka being awful (bar the first 2 or 3 games). He offers nothing anymore yet plays every game.

Seedorf seems to have his favourites and makes very odd team selections. How can anyone play Bonera and Constant over Abate and De sciglio? Don't get me started on the centre backs!!

How can Balo perform (yes his attitude could be better) when there is no service. You cant compare Pjanic, someone who plays in a team oozing confidence and dominating the play
on the 26th April, 2014 at 10:33pm

not turn around. I always says he's inconsistent. Skillfull but drops out of games. He is still great for the national.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 10:13pm
Balotelli is a colorful personality which ads to the excitement of the game. I wish him well - the success Seedorf had.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 9:22pm
lol doesnt every player say that hmm im glad juventus didn't bid for him either doesn't do enough work and contes team work hard he simply thinks hes can coast and scoring the odd penalty doesn't cut it in my book.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 9:16pm
If/when that happens, the poor form will almost certainly continue, not least as the players again have to adjust to a new coach. At this rate, Milan could do a checklist of former legends and stalwarts they are estranging.

Pirlo – check
Maldini - check
Seedorf – in progress
Inzaghi - next
on the 26th April, 2014 at 8:54pm
@ Maldini's Heir
Sadly, I think letting Seedorf and Balotelli take the blame is exactly what the hierarchy plan to do. Never mind the fact that it was Berlusconi's hare-brained idea to hire a coach with no experience in the first place. And one suspects the club will look for an alternative the same way they look for players these days – going for bargain-bin options. In this case, promoting Inzaghi from youth-team coach, even though he has little more experience.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 8:49pm
@ Maldini's Heir

"One bad match and a media induced outrage doesn't change anything."

I don't know if you meant the team or Balotelli in that sentence, but either ways you're wrong. Open your eyes.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 8:23pm
Balotelli would never be accepted by Antonio Conte because as we all know he would split the locker room and like Ronaldo he simply plays for the team.I was so glad that Juve didn't bid for him Although perhaps a Conte or Sir Alex may have brought him to heel.I can't imagine Baresi,Maldini,Riykard not taking him aside and forcibly reminding him that the team comes first.Just a shame his talent will never fully develop.Marochi at least has a EC winners medal.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 8:22pm
@ paul no respect for the club? He supported them since he was a kid. Don't facts get in the way of prejudice.

@ Viktor seriously stick by Balo. One bad match and a media induced outrage doesn't change anything. We've got to careful the club don't pander to the media and blame all the problems on Balo and Seedorf. The prolem is Galliani and the hierarchy. This is just a sideshow caused by pundits who really should know better.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 7:58pm
Balotelli hasn't performed well in every big game so far. He just doesn't know how to keep fighting when the games get tough. Look at Palacio and Higuain; they IMPROVE in the big games because they work harder. Milan doesn't need Balotelli's antics right now. Get rid of him.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 7:43pm
Susie siamo I Milanisti. Please stop writing negative things about Milan, I expect this from Inter fans not by my fellow Milanista. Lets get together for our Milan. Please stop writing such negative words. Grazie Forza Super Mario, Forza Milan
on the 26th April, 2014 at 7:36pm
lol MM i totally agree with you glad you remember how vik blasted everyone about how great balo was and i said a long with others that he is well over rated .milan are to soft with him he has no respect for the club and i doubt he will ever respect any club he should remember the club will always be there he wont,hes lazy over rated and thinks more about himself than the team.i dont think anyone can do anything with the kid.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 6:20pm
Just let his statistic speaks (goals, assists, etc), then just shut up! We can't expect him to be marvelous on each and every game. Milan just lost once and WON 5 GAMES in their last 6 games. Roma is a marvelous team, they have more gel than Milan, they used to play as a team since the start of the season while Milan just change the coach, no wonder they can stop almost all of Milan's attack. That's just unfortunately normal this season.
Then I say it once again to these critics, just shut up and let the statistic speaks! And I'm sorry Boban, you're my hero, but I have to say it to you too.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 6:11pm
Balo was poor last night and so were the whole Milan team, he's still the best option we have up front, I know everybody said it before but he's a different player for the azzurri, I don't care what he does for Milan as long as he plays well for italia il be happy.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 5:58pm
Mario has to decide on whether he wants to grow up and accept responsibility, i.e., play for the team even when he does not have the ball. His attitude needs to change. As a Romanista, I can recall when the same comments relentlessly followed 'il Capitano,' Francesco ultimately had to make the choice on the type of person/footballer he wanted to become. So will Mario, I hope MB takes advantage of his immense talent & becomes the footballer he was meant to be. Stay tuned...
on the 26th April, 2014 at 5:51pm
@ Anonymous couldn't agree more. I didn't realise Bonera got the highest rating! I think Susy should do an article analysing Balo' contrabution to defending corners. He's been by far our best defender at corners. He clears nearly everything at the front post. Bonera should learn from Balo!
on the 26th April, 2014 at 5:38pm
@ St Ambrose Makes you wonder. I'll give the pundits the benefit of the doubt and say that its just lazy punditry. You don't need to analyse the game and you can get great TV by badgering Balo. It worked spectacularly. But the media obsession and the speed at which people are only too delighted to jump on the bandwagon makes me wonder. As I've said in the past its partly to do with Balo's personality but I feel there's also something to do with the colour of his skin.
on the 26th April, 2014 at 5:34pm

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