Does the “new” Balotelli deserve more respect?
Is it now time to admit that Mario Balotelli might, in fact, be the real deal? It seems that the hot-headed Italian has decided to let his feet do the talking, with some very impressive results.
October 17th, 2011
Not that long ago, it seemed that Mr Balotelli was heading straight for the airport and a career well away from Eastlands. His antics in Los Angeles provoked a stern response from Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, becoming the latest addition to a long list of transgressions by the tantrum-prone striker, and he spent much of the early part of the season keeping Carlos Tevez company on the City bench.
But the past few weeks have seen something of a turnaround for Balotelli, with the City striker silencing the Aston Villa fans that frequented the away end at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with the opening goal in a 4-1 win.
The strike, a brilliantly improvised overhead kick, came just minutes after Balotelli had “hushed” the Villa fans who jeered him as he lost his footing in front of the away end. In celebrating the goal, Balotelli rushed back to those Villa fans, resulting in MOTD’s resident half-wits to decry him on Saturday night.
“I guarantee that he’ll get send off in the future”, rambled Alan Shearer, just a week after the “world class” Wayne Rooney hacked at an opponent’s calves. Half-wit number two, Alan Hanson, also questioned Balotelli’s ability to perform “when it comes to the crunch”, based on little evidence other than the fact that Balotelli put his finger to his lips in front of opposition fans. Oh the horror!
Balotelli now has three goals in his last three Premier League games, so how does he start earning the respect that his talent clearly deserves?
The easy answer would be to “behave himself”, but why don’t the likes of Wayne Rooney need to do likewise? When Rooney rubs the opposition up the wrong way, it’s “part of his character”. When Balotelli does it, he’s “a menace who is a bad role model for the young fans”.
Whether it’s a new attitude, a new maturity or a new ambition that has helped turn the wayward striker around, we can’t help but think that it’s a shame that he can’t play against Villarreal tomorrow night, because we’d be backing him to find the net.