With Luis Suarez’s move to Barca done and dusted football journalists all over the country were starting to get just a little nervous. Now that the controversial Uruguayan had gone who would fill the back pages with moments of madness matched only by glimpses of sublime talent? Today their prayers have been answered; Super Mario is back.
Mario Balotelli, the man who set the Premier League alight during his three year stay at Manchester City, has returned, making the move to Liverpool from AC Milan for a fee believed to be in the region of £16m. The 24 year old will sign a five year deal with wages believed to be over £120,000 a week.
During his time at City the Italian won the Premier League title and the FA Cup and scored 30 goals in 80 games in all competitions. For Milan he has been more prolific, scoring 30 goals in 54 games.
Super Mario became a cult figure to football fans during his time at City for his on field swagger and his off field antics including: Setting off fireworks in his bathroom the day before a Manchester derby (in which he scored twice), buying petrol for everyone in a petrol station he visited and being arrested while strolling around the grounds of a woman’s prison because he “fancied a look”.
But for all of his entertaining antics their can be a sinister side to the striker. Many of his previous managers including Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini, with whom Balotelli was pictured have a training ground fight with, have talked about how hard he is to worth with due to petulance and a temperamental attitude.
Will Brendan Rodgers be able to tame his bad boy ways and tap into his talent? Well, during his last season at Liverpool Suarez was a reformed man with controversial incidents few and far between and a goal in almost every game, can he do the same for Balotelli? Only time will tell.
One thing is for certain though: All eyes will be on Balotelli on December 13th when he will travel with his now side to Old Trafford. Manchester United fans have never been shy about expressing their loathing for the Italian and it’s always been an environment he has thrived in, how will they feel now that he’s in the red of arch rivals Liverpool? Not so great, I’d imagine. Watch this space.