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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Mancini’s Big Balotelli Gamble Has Not Paid Dividends

Written by on March 24, 2011 | 50 Comments »
Posted in Manchester City

With an international break this week some of the intense pressure on Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has eased……….for now.

After losing – some might say it was more a case of rolling over and playing dead – last Sunday to Chelsea, City slipped to 4th in the Barclay’s Premier League. It brings an end to a run of 13 rounds when there enjoyed a heady position in the top three. City now trail Chelsea by a point and have also played a game more than the London club.

Although there are still eight rounds to play for City, it looks like another battle for 4th against Spurs is the most likely outcome over the remaining weeks of the season. If Spurs can win their game in hand, the gap between 5th placed Spurs and City will be a single point although City may also benefit from a better goal differential.

City’s run-in does not require them to leave the North-West with all their away games “regional” derbies. Although travel is limited the fixtures are not easy. The remaining schedule runs like this: Sunderland (h), Liverpool (a), Blackburn (a), West Ham (h), Everton (a), Stoke (h) and Bolton (a).

There will also be the very important home fixture against Spurs to be fitted in as City have an appointment against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi on the original league date.

Mancini desperately needs another catalyst to spark a City side that has often looked sluggish against better opposition and when stubborn opposition needs to be broken. Carlos Tevez has been the man that Mancini has depended upon and with 18 league goals the Argentine striker has more than pulled his weight. His goal production far outstrips any other City player this season.

Mancini has spent a lot of money and he also inherited some expensive acquisitions made by his predecessors. But even so the team still has the look of a side built for function – to grind out a result – rather than one equipped to go out and impose their collective will on the opposition with pace and imagination.

Pace and imagination are two of the qualities often associated with Mario Balotelli who signed last summer from Inter. Unfortunately preening, self-involved and indulgent are others often linked to the 20-year-old.

The decision by Mancini to sign Balotelli for around $38M remains puzzling and in the opinion of many it was a massive and foolhardy gamble.

Certainly Balotelli has great potential but it has been shown repeatedly that signing rising stars is a much greater gamble than those who may have less potential but are more mature and constitute more of the finished article.

Even the most emotionally mature youngsters can suffer “growing-pains” let alone one who’s default behaviour is tantamount to tossing toys from the pram.

To take such a moody individual who has shown such a little sense of “team” while at Inter and expect him to suddenly change for the better while acclimatizing to a foreign country and league seems grossly optimistic.

And for Mancini to try and pull that off while trying a meld an expensive group of stars seems more like a death-wish than astute football management.

For while Mancini showed the utmost faith in Balotelli, Balotelli has not returned the trust. His red-card against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League was the latest example.

Balotelli’s action against Dynamo was irresponsible and it placed Mancini between a rock and hard place when it came to selecting his side against Chelsea on Sunday. With Carlos Tevez out with a groin injury Balotelli would certainly have been high on the list of options to replace the Argentine player.

However, to start Balotelli would have been interpreted as the manager indulging the young Italian. Manicini’s hand was forced – figuratively – and Balotelli started on the bench and remained there for much of the match. Just when Mancini needed him, he could not play him.

Which of course leads to the logical question of why keep him around at Eastlands? If Balotelli is to have a future at Eastlands it may well be decided over the next eight weeks and the same may be true for Roberto Mancini.

If – and it is an extremely large if – Balotelli can contribute to City’s late season run in the league and cup in a positive way then we may well see the “Balotelli experiment” continue into next season.

If not then do not be surprised if Balotelli is sent packing back to Serie A along with the man who thought that such a high-risk individual was worth risking his career in Manchester for.

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50 responses to “Mancini’s Big Balotelli Gamble Has Not Paid Dividends”

  1. Eaglesoar says:

    So true Bobby….Balotelli has so much promise, but seems intent on throwing away his gifts through sheer stupidity, is it the passionate Italian temperament taken to the extreme?(obviously much more to it than that) Now there is a story coming out of ESPN that Balotelli would change his ways if only he could meet his hero Ronaldo: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/898007/mario-balotelli:-meeting-ronaldo-would-change-me?cc=5901

    Really? How is this even a story? Yeah…send Mario to Rio, him and Ronaldo can hit the clubs and party like its 1999 and everything will be better…..what you waiting for Roberto?

  2. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Mancini (and Balotelli) are “on the clock”. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    I know we always criticize footballers for being spoiled and belligerent millionaires, but it must have been mentally straining for a Ghanaian immigrant to leave his biological parents at 3 years of age (due to family’s financial problems upon immigration to Italy) and to be adopted by an Italian family and then develop in a somewhat racist soccer culture in Italy, no?

  4. Bridie Boy says:

    Spot on Bobby. If anything you are being too kind on Mancini and Man City. The most expensive squad in the EPL – Mancini has appeared clueless about figuring out his best eleven and his negative tactics are embarrassing relative to the striking options he has at hand. Mourinho is probably checking out a place to live in north-west England already.

  5. Derek Taylor says:

    Good lord…I agree with SL. This is weird. Having your HOME fans rip on you just because of the color of your skin…you’d think that would harden you quite a bit.

    Just because I like numbers:

    Balotelli has 10 goals in all this season…one more than Fernando Torres. Balotelli is 3 years younger than Adam Johnson and 2 years younger than Javier Hernandez.

    Maybe we wait a bit before we call a 20 year old a big sack of crap. I don’t think you buy a short position on a kid this age. You buy for the long term.

  6. […] PR makeover in greater Manchester, Mario Balotelli wanders into the vision of the ever-excellent Bobby McMahon, who questions why City’s gambled on the immensely talented headcase. While the words […]

  7. SL – The points you make are very relevant and buttress the point that I tried to make which is what was Mancini thinking.

    DT – Since the Bosman ruling long term is until the present contract is up. The only way to invest for the long term is across the squad – not on individual players.

  8. Boris says:

    Harry’s latest comment on Modric:

    “I wouldn’t want to sell him for £100million, not even for a billion. He’s the hub of the team.” Read Sky Sports.

    Well it is nice of him to say this. He has mentioned several times that Luka is priceless, but let’s face it anybody has got a price. It must be said though, Luka Modric is a very rare bread of player. Not many can do what he does.
    To those of you who get offended by me talking about Modric because he happens to be Croatian, just watch one game, like the one against West Ham, where he completely controlled the entire game. Yes he’s Croatian but that doesn’t diminish his huge talent.
    If he were British, I am sure nobody would be complaining about me praising him. Please just watch a few Tottenham games before you accuse me of having “Croatian Glasses”. I find this very ironic, considering how many people (primarily British) think that Bale is the greatest thing ever because they saw a few highlights of the Inter game and I am the one who’s being accused of being blinded by my heritage?
    I appreciate talent the same way I appreciate what the likes of Messi of Cristiano bring to the game.

  9. Gus Keri says:

    Seeing how Balotelli was handling his bib and the fact that he is asking for help from both Prandelli and “Ronaldo”, suggest that he is a child at heart and aware of his problems and he wants to correct them badly.

    He reminds me of two examples. Rooney and Anelka.

    Anelka didn’t benefit much by having a greedy brother as his manager and didn’t get the right advices in his young carrier. While Rooney fared better after going to Man Utd where SAF is the master in handling young talents.

    People around Balotelli shoud be paying good attention to what he is saying. Abviously he need some help from the psycological aspect to deal with the high presure situation he is in.

    I doubt that a trip to Brazil would be the answer, although he believes so.

  10. rdm says:

    I guess I need to step up and say it, SL I agree with you.

  11. Derek Taylor says:

    Bobby – We’ve seen many times that the date a contract expires is pretty meaningless. Great and good get deals extended long before they are set to expire. To argue that everything is short-term is misleading.

    I’m pretty sure that Barcelona has long-term plans for Messi. And United with Rooney. And United with Hernandez. And Arsenal with Nasri. And Spurs with Modric. And on and on and on.

  12. rdm says:

    Derek I agree with that but looking at it from the other way, it seems many of these “long term” deals are signed specifically to ensure that the club obtains a suitable amount of compensation when the “offer that can not be refused” walks in the door.

    It’s simple math that a highly skilled and desired player with a year or 6 months left to run on their contract is going to hold someone for ransom and have a much simpler time of doing so than if they’d just signed a 5 year deal. Besides, I’m sure most organizations would rather that it was some other club being asked to stump up for all the cash, and not they themselves right?

  13. rdm says:

    I apologize if that was tough to read, turns out I don’t have an edit button for posts either! 😮

  14. Derek Taylor says:

    RDM – Your point about remaining time on contract is true. That’s the balancing act clubs have to perform when offering contracts–we want to keep him for as long as we want if he turns out to be/keeps being great, and we want to protect ourselves from ruin if he becomes terrible.

    In the case of Balotelli (and Liverpool with Andy Carroll) City has put a lot of money out for an asset with no track record of performance. It’s a high-risk investment to be sure.

  15. I am surprised by Harry Redknapp getting caught in the old “get him to use hyperbole” press scam!

  16. Bridie Boy says:

    I’ll take a slight beg-to-differ approach with D.T. on Andy Carroll. Eleven goals in your first 19 EPL starts before getting injured isn’t quite no-track record at all. Add the fact he’s already part of the England strike-force and his countless assists and unsettling affects on opposition defences in those eleven games definitely count for something. He brings an aerial threat as good or better than anyone in the EPL. The Arsenal team who were beaten at the Emirates 1-0 by Newcastle in 2010 from one chance/one goal to Carroll would surely agree. Likewise the Liverpool defence that was destroyed by Carroll in November. He’s no angel off-the-pitch but his onfield disposition seems completely sound. Suarez and Carroll for Torres/Babel may very well turn out to be the best business Liverpool have done since Keegan went to Hamburg and Kenny Dalglish came from Celtic in 1977.

  17. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Boris – I’m not of English heritage. And every time you post on Bobby’s blog it has something to do with a Croatian. Modric is a fine player. But he is only half of a Xavi or even Cesc. And Modric could not fetch what Bale could in the open market. Not even close. The Spuds just secured Bale long term and DT should have used Bale as his Spuds example and Modric. And the reason I think VdV is better than Modric is that VdV can do what Modric does (play make), but Modric cannot do what VdV does (score goals). This isn’t rocket science. If VdV were Croatian, I suspect that you would think he was the best thing since sliced bread.

    Bridie Boy – Carroll is a massive over spend. And I agree with DT on this one. What has the pony tail done? Suarez is twice the player (if not more) and was acquired at about half the price. From my perspective, Carroll is a Crouch with a pony tail (and a bad rap sheet). The pony tail is a really uncoordinated bloke whose price tag cannot be justified.

  18. Boris says:

    Dude,

    Modric is a deep lying playmaker. His primary role is not to score goals but to create something out of nothing. He is the catalyst of every single Tottenham attack, not to mention his defensive roles. When he was playing in more advanced roles, he was scoring more goals and adding more assists. Also, it is not his fault that Defoe cannot latch onto the simplest of passes. By the way, he can’t score goals? Just look up on Youtube. My favorite would be the one against Everton from last year. Bobby knows what I am talking about. He doesn’t take as many shots as the likes of VDV, or Fabregas due to his role but when he does, his shots are often very accurate. Buy the way, how many goals do the likes of Iniesta score each year?
    I am sorry, I’ve watched Tottenham play with VDV all season long and he clearly does not have the ball control of Modric and would not be as an effective playmaker. Right now, it is definitely not rocket science as Bale and VDV are clearly struggling with fitness and don’t even come close to Modric but you would know that if you had watched Tottenham play in more than just the Inter game. Even someone with an i.q. of a cactus could see who the best player is, especially now.
    I have to talk about Modric because others won’t. Parker had a great game against Tottenham the other day, but Modric was the best player on the pitch and nobody talked about him.
    Everybody talks about Xavi and Fabregas so there is no need for me talk about them. Of all the players at Tottenham, he is the only one who can play effectively any role he’s asked to play in. Since Harry was in charge, Luka has played on the left, right, center, more advanced attacking role, you name it.
    Bale has got great pace, decent dribble and crosses well but he cannot play the multitude of roles than Modric plays in, and you are right, Bale would have more value on the market because he’s more overhyped on account of him being British.
    Fabregas is one of my favorite players and I would be ecstatic if he were Croatian but VDV is just another player to me. He plays well but he’s not great and can easily be replaced. Tottenham have finished fourth without him. I would much rather have a quality striker instead.

  19. Soccerlogical says:

    DT – Kudos on agreeing with me… your halfway there kiddo! 🙂

    Bobbo – I think Mancini felt it his “duty” as an Italian and a manager to bring Balotelli over to Man City in an attempt to set a lost kid on the right path. He knew it was a gamble and was hoping that Mario’s talent and a fresh start in a new league under a familiar manager who Mario supposedly respected would be a win-win situation.
    Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out for Mario and Mancini doesn’t look too smart for spending a hefty sum on a player whoa has hurt the team more than helped them. But I’m gonna speculate and say Mancini knew things may turn out this way and doesn’t care that the owner spent 30M on Mario or anything else as long as Man City qualify for the CL.

    Boris – What you are missing in your pro Croatian tirades is the fact that non of these players are playing in the Croatian league. I can as easily ask, why hasn’t Berba (EPL leading goalscorer and a genius in tight spaces) been starting over a struggling Rooney or a dozen other examples where foreign players are second fiddle to British players….. THAT’S LIFE!

  20. Boris says:

    Croatian League or Premier League has got nothing to do with this. I have no problem with Harry’s starting selection policy albeit I may question his rotation policy. Modric is the starter and he’s Croatian. Harry clearly knows Luka’s value. Most coaches can differentiate quality from average. He doesn’t need some so-called pundit to tell him otherwise. Now what the media, fans, and bookies might say, that’s a completely different story.
    Sorry for Berba, but I would have a little bit more faith in Rooney. He’s a great player and Ferguson knows what he brings to the table.

  21. Soccerlogical says:

    “Sorry for Berba, but I would have a little bit more faith in Rooney. He’s a great player and Ferguson knows what he brings to the table.”

    Very obtuse statement…. many can say the exact same thing regarding the Bale/Modric or Huddlestone /Kranjcar situation.

  22. Derek Taylor says:

    Birdieboy – as far track records, 19 EPL starts is nothing. If the only time you had ever seen Wayne Rooney was his 19 starts beginning April 7, 2010 you would have wondered “what the hell is he doing playing for Manchester United?”. Had you seen the 19 starts before that you’d have thought “Is he the best goal-scorer ever?” That little time tells us nothing about long-term results. Carroll’s statistics say it has been a dynamite stretch in the Prem thus far.

    Andrew Johnson came to mind as a guy who put together some impressive goal totals (21 in his first Prem season). And I think he illustrates what can happen to any player. Some guys just aren’t going to be great players, even though they can have a great season. It will be interesting to see how Carroll turns out.

    The thing this topic has made me think is: we don’t hold clubs’ feet to the fire for their bad purchases enough. We remember or forget deals based on how much we like the manager or some element of the team.

  23. Derek Taylor says:

    Bobby and I were yakking about the “bad purchases” last week. We have quickly forgotten the awful big-money buys that Pep Guardiola has made.

  24. Boris says:

    “many can say the exact same thing regarding the Bale/Modric or Huddlestone /Kranjcar situation”.

    Interesting comparison though not quite the same.
    You see Kranjcar had himself established as a starter and advanced playmaker and when Modric came back from injury, Harry even considered playing Kranjcar on the left and Modric moved to the middle. However, when Kranjcar became injured, Bale came along but instead of being a temporary replacement, he played so well that Harry decided to stick with him, not so with the Berba/Rooney case. I guess it all depends on the manager too. Huddlestone is more likely to compete against Sandro than Modric. When Huddlestone was healthy he played alongside Modric quite well.

  25. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Boris,

    Take it easy. I’m not a dude. I don’t live in CA. I don’t ride the surf. But, I do know that you are over doing the Croatian angle. Relax. Modric is a very good player. But he couldn’t polish the boots of Xavi. And you brought up Iniesta. Well, I’m not the only one that thinks Don Andres is better than Xavi who is better than Pep. And Modric doesn’t score goals from his position … period. Xavi does. VdV would. And Iniesta, although slighty more advanced, is renowned for scoring a game winner in the 2nd leg at the Bus Stop (in a CL SF) and a minor game winner in the WC Final, is not a player you want to bring into the same breath as your dear Croatian. I’m not sure what you are smoking in CA … but stop it. It’s clouding your judgement.

    And I’m a Magyar and I’m telling you Modric is half the value of Bale and is of less value than VdV. The more you go down this Croatian only line of reasoning, the more foolish you sound.

    Have a nice glass of Californian red on me.

  26. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Boris,

    And another thing. If all other things are equal, the better player is selected by the manager to play in a more advanced role. That’s why VdV is the AMF and Modric is the deeper lying play makng MF. Much like Iniesta plays more advanced than Xavi. It’s not rocket science mate.

  27. Boris says:

    Modric has scored goals from his position my Magyar friend. I don’t know where you come up with these comparisons…half the value…haha. In all honestly, how many Tottenham games have you watched this season?
    Xavi and Iniesta are great players. VDV is not.
    I think I will get me some of that nice red though. Have some good goulash on me.

    Adios

  28. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    And DT is right,

    Pep has made two poor business decisions thus far. The Eto’o for Ibra is the biggest one. And the Chiggy overspend and sell back is the other. Pep has an incredible CV thus far, but he is case in point of any manager being capable of making mistakes.

  29. Boris says:

    Well I am not the only who thinks that Xavi is the better player than Iniesta. Iniesta’s advantage is certainly the age factor. Again, what type of calculation did you use to determine that the better player is used in a more advanced role? Lols. Modric has played VDV’s role but prior to VDV coming along, Modric was already a central midfielder and not advanced attacking midfielder. Harry has created the spot to accomodate VDV who could certainly not play as well as a deep lying playmaker.
    It is what it is. I am done for today.
    Latez

  30. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Boris,

    I think they named your nation after me. And I will have some CA red in your honour for the debate. Btw, as an Arsenal fan, I try to avoid as many Spuds matches as possible …

    Cheers

  31. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Calculation,

    You already stated it for me. Before VdV, Modric played the VdV position. I think you answered the Q yourself. Like a rhetorical Q without knowing it.

    Generally accepted in Cules-ville that Xavi came along to retire Pep and Iniesta came along to retire Xavi. Not all opinions are the same granted. But I watch FCB as a religion, especially that I’m an atheist otherwise, and I’ve long said Iniesta is better than Xavi. But at that level one is only splitting hairs. Not so much VdV v Modric.

    Simple mental experiment for a Spud. Take Modric and ask him to play in VdV’s spot and produce the goals that the Dutchie has this year. You will invariably get a lesser tally. Now, ask VdV to play in Modric’s role, and you would get the same if not better return. Again, it’s not rocket science my Balkan friend.

  32. Soccerlogical says:

    All I know is that VdV was a star at Hamburg and is a star at Tottenham so when give a proper chance to shine… HE DOES!

    I do think that VdV has a better eye for goal but Modric is quicker and a better dribbler.

  33. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    SL – Hows the snow in NYC mate? Stay dry 😉

  34. Theojciech Van Nasregas says:

    hey theo, drop arsha..we dont need it. its theo van nasregas. arsenal hasnt lost when those 4 are alined. as welll, the five of them cant really start at the same time.
    well they could if u put cesc along side song and play arshavin behind van persie.

    ARSENAL!!

  35. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    And who ever heard of “Modric to Barça” rumours??? Yet, I have heard of “Bale to Barça” rumours. And the Catalans care not if they’re British. I rest my case.

    The next time I go to the LCBO I will get a bottle of Croatian red in your honour Boris. Salute!

  36. BC Spur says:

    Modric NEVER played VdV’s role. He see to play on the left of midfield. VdV doesn’t have Modders work ethic and defensive awareness. Not even close! If VdV doesn’t play just off a lone striker , he doesn’t play. I’m a Dutch Spurs supporter , so I sit right in the middle. VDV can only be effective in 1 role. Modders could lay anywhere in the midfield due to his work rate and brains.

  37. Boris says:

    And who ever heard of “Modric to Barça” rumours??? Yet, I have heard of “Bale to Barça” rumou”
    Actually there were several rumors about Modric and Barca this year as well as Man U, Chelsea, Madrid and the latest being Inter which was denied by Luka’s agent.
    TVS, Bro how can you compare VDV to Modric if you haven’t really watched Tottenham play this year? That’s like me comparing Pastore to Hamsik and to be honest I haven’t followed much of the Italian league for a while.

    BC SPUR says
    “Modric NEVER played VdV’s role”.

    When Harry first became manager of the Spurs, Modric had been moved to a very advanced role, as a supporting striker, kinda like what VDV does when he plays with one forward upront. Later in the year, Harry moved him to the left. Towards the end of last year, he had been moved to a central role and this year he’s been playing even deeper but with the license to roam forward.

  38. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Mr. Croatia,

    Ask yourself how serious your perceived rumours of “Modric to Barça” could be considering the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Thiago, and Cesc.

    Now consider the possibility of Bale down the left hand side of FCB instead of what is there now. Think about the difference. I rest my case.

    Bale is better than Modric. Full stop. Ask an agent. And if that doesn’t help you, FCB could use Bale as a left wing back. FCB could not use Modric except as cover.

    You should buy me a drink.

  39. Boris says:

    Mr Hungary,

    Again just rumors. Of all the top teams he could play at, his best fit would be Man U in mu opinion. I never said I believed he was going to Barca as Barca don’t really need a player like him until Xavi retires anyway not to mention that Fabregas would be the more likely candidate to go like you said.
    That’s why it’s just a rumor.
    Unfortunately I don’t know any agents so I’ll pass.
    Funny, I don’t really mind going back and forth. It’s kinda fun, but I am tired so night.

  40. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    And this thread had nothing to do with Croatians until you made it so. I bid you a fare nght.

  41. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    s/b fare night. Night all. Sleep tight.

  42. As so concludes a discussion that started with Roberto Mancini, Manchester City and Mario Balotelli.
    Cat-herder required 🙂

  43. Sandra says:

    Just wanted to chime in with a story about Balotelli that might put his comments re Ronaldo/Brazil into context.

    Last year I saw a news segment about Balotelli on Brazil’s Globo TV Sunday night Fantastico news show. It was about a poor neighborhood – a favela, or slum community – in the northeastern state of Bahia named after Balotelli. They had changed the favela’s name to his. Apparently a year before he had visited the area and lived in the favela for 3 months. He adopted it as a kind of home away from home. The locals grew to love him–he lived among them, sleeping in one of their homes, sometimes on the floor, sometimes on a small rickety bed, eating their food, hanging out with them in the local bar, really becoming one of them. To them he was very warm, modest, humble, generous. He donated to the various community projects, incl. 2 schools and a clinic and helped build another clinic.

    Apparently he’s always had a fascination and love for Brazil and esp. Bahia, which is known for its Afro-Brazilian cultural consciousness.

    According to the locals, he cried a lot when he had to leave. He’s visited them twice now since. Nearly all of the locals knew very little about him, they don’t pay much attention to European football. They just knew he was a footballer who plays in Europe and is Italian with Ghaniaian background.

    I was struck by the segment because the picture it gave of him was so different from the one we hear so much in the UK/European football press. The segment showed where he slept and ate and enjoyed hanging with the musicians, the bar he frequented – it is a very poor community, far from the luxury he’s used to.

    Given the racial abuse he’s received all his life in Europe, I interpreted this news segment as showing a corner of the world where maybe he felt acceptance, where he could be just himself.

    This is not to take away from Bobby’s basic point-I agree with him entirely about Mancini’s decision to bring such a volatile character into his squad. Nor do I take away any responsibility from Balotelli himself for his conduct.

    But after having watched the people of that community talk about him in such loving, affectionate terms – I’ve looked upon him a little differently, thinking maybe he just isn’t happy in Europe. Tho he may be one day if he decides to grow up.

  44. rdm says:

    Man, for an “internet fight” that was downright civil.

  45. Eaglesoar says:

    oh…and Bale is Welsh, not British…..there is a difference right?

  46. Sandra

    Thanks for your post. It was very interesting.

  47. RDM – Soccer Report Extra.com – “the site that fights fair?” or “The site where the insults are spelled correctly?”

  48. Boris says:

    EAGLESOAR says:
    oh…and Bale is Welsh, not British…..there is a difference right?

    – I hope that was joke. Welsh are not English but they are considered British.

    Bobby and RDM, I think that is one of the reasons I like this site. Almost everyone that participates on the blog seems to be educated.

  49. Eaglesoar says:

    Yeah Sandra- thanks for the story. Balotelli truly is one of my favourite players, that’s why his antics are mystifying and frustrating. I was really hoping that he would open a lot of eyes to his talent, but ends up making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Here’s hoping he can get his career back on track with a bit of help.

  50. Gbenga says:

    Balotelli will have to grow up sooner or later. His antics on the field is a poor reflection on whomever is guardian is. He has what it takes to dominate the game, but won’t realize it until it’s to late.

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