Is Balotelli worth the trouble?

MarioBalotelli (Reuters)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Mario Balotelli is once again in the headlines for the wrong reasons, and once again the question being asked is if he is worth all the trouble.

For Manchester City head coach Roberto Mancini, the answer appears to be "not anymore". Mancini told reporters following his club's 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday that he does not plan on using Balotelli for the remainder of the season after the Italian forward's most recent ejection, leaving the troubled striker's future with the club in doubt.

Balotelli was sent off late in the match with a second yellow card for an unneccessary challenge, but his performance was full of reckless tackles that could have seen him red carded earlier. In the first half, Balotelli went studs-up on a challenge on Alexander Song that the Arsenal defender was lucky to escape from without injury. That incident did not result in anything more than a foul in the game, but it could result in a lengthier suspension should England's FA deem it necessary.

Balotelli's latest meltdown raises new questions about whether the controversial striker is worth Manchester City, or any other team in the world, having on their roster.

There's no question Balotelli has the talent to be a forward capable of wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. This season alone, the 21-year old has scored 13 times in the Premiership campaign in 22 appearances. Unfortunately, Balotelli has also compiled 20 yellow cards and four red cards.

With his Premier League season appearing to be over, the next questions about Balotelli are whether Italy will consider bringing him for the Euros, and whether Manchester City will really be able to sell him this summer.

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Do you think Balotelli is worth all the trouble? Would you like to see your club go after him this summer? Would you bring him to the Euros if you were Italian national team head coach Cesare Prandeli?

Share your thoughts below.

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57 Responses to Is Balotelli worth the trouble?

  1. Joe Beck says:

    He’s a clubhouse (and now on-field) cancer. Is he an extremely Talented goal scorer? Yes.

    Is he someone you’d want your club to spend big $$ on and risk spoiling team chemistry? No way.

  2. David St. Hubbins says:

    He is worth the trouble but Mancini is right to discipline him. Cantona once missed an entire season for far worse and ManU held on to him to great benefit to themselves.

  3. David St. Hubbins says:

    The reason Citeh are gonna lose the title is not Balotelli’s fault, it’s Silva’s… he’s got 0 goals and only 4 assists in the second half compared to 5 goals and 8 assists in the first half of the season.

  4. Steve says:

    Easily answered, no.

  5. Dank says:

    It obviously depends on your alternatives. When you’ve got Dzeko and Aguero ready to step in, no. If he were on a team like Wigan, I’d imagine you’d give him another chance.

  6. MemRook says:

    YES. A resounding huge YES!!!!!

    For my personal entertainment I mean.

  7. Felix says:

    He is an amazing talent, I truly believe on pure natural ability, he’s on par with Messi or CRonaldo – but he’s so unstable – you cannot trust him.

    He has the skill to single-handedly win a game, or lose it for you as well with his antics.

    I think right now he’s a player only for desperate sides or highly ambitious clubs who are willing to sign high risk/rewards types of talents.

    So right now, no, he is not worth it.

  8. Neil says:

    Not worth it. Comparing him to Cantona is such a stretch. Cantona at that stage of his career was a quantifiable commodity (good and bad) Bottletelli has yet to quantify his worth, good or bad. The potential on the good side is off the charts. Sadly for him so is the bad.

  9. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    As a Fulham supporter, here’s hoping Chelsea buy him.

  10. AC says:

    Terrell Owens of soccer….Talent gone to waste with his unstable behavior and ability to kill any locker room chemistry.

  11. elmo says:

    We’ LL take him

    - LA GALAXY

  12. Robinswood says:

    Like a rabid dog, they need to put this wild thing down. Put him out of his misery.

    Seriously, he’s worth it, but I think I’d give him an indefinite suspension until he goes to see a sports psychologist and is able to get himself grounded. Sounds like a prime example of yet another coddled star who was put in his place from the start. Hopefully, his career won’t be ruined by poor coaching.

  13. Fred says:

    Bring him to the MLS! We’ll see the leagues first 30 goal scorer.

  14. MemRook says:

    THIS

  15. elgringorico says:

    This is a good analogy. The only difference is that Ballotelli really does seem stupid and ignorant, whereas with Owens you knew he was doing it 100% for attention.

  16. NF says:

    Nah, he would just be trying backheel kicks all the time.

  17. Kevin_Amold says:

    You are blaming everything on Silva? He’s certainly struggled lately, no question. By that logic, would it be because of only him that they were in the title race to begin with?

  18. A wise man once says:

    NO WE WON’T

    -LA Galaxy

  19. Tony in Quakeland says:

    He’s a freaking loon. Seriously, he’s dangerous. I wouldn’t let that guy on my team without an ironclad contract clause that he has to undergo therapy. I mean, the guy should have been thrown out of a critical match in the 19th minute – you need to be Messi to be worth that kind of ticking time bomb problem.

  20. wilyboy says:

    Think Balotelli would have to hit rock bottom in order for any manager to truly get through to him. His own talent is preventing him from ever being truly adrift.

    It’s not about a manager. It’s about Mario, he’s the only person who can decide that he is a problem, and do anything about it.

  21. Matt says:

    HELL NO. NOT IN LA. What are you smoking? We already have enough egos to deal with. We have great players, we just need to get the team back.
    -LA Galaxy

  22. Brit says:

    Why not put a poll at the end there?

  23. GunnerPat says:

    The boy plays with a tremendous amount of passion. He makes mistakes and he is aggresive. Which manager does not want these qualities in a young man? That his manager is blaming him for everything since the flood is tragic for city. If they lose him, he will go else where and come back to hunt them.

  24. Ben says:

    Playful antics away from he field can always be explained away, but his seem particularly unhinged, and he can’t compartmentalize at well, so one area affects the other. Count me among those who think team chemistry is important; I think over the course of a season having a bunch of guys who don’t get along will take its toll.

  25. T$ says:

    Is Mancini worth the trouble? This is a team of highly paid talented divas. A good manager keeps his team from imploding in the final 10 games and doesn’t blame a 21 year old.

    Wayne Rooney once walked in Mario’s shoes.

    And yes, Balotelli should have been playing for Italy a year ago.

  26. Matt says:

    Take him. Just not in LA. We don’t want him. In fact, put him in NJ with the Red Bulls so they can implode more.
    As a side comment, why is it people say “I want ___ in MLS”? Do people not have personal teams they follow? That’s like if I was a Man U fan and said “I want Neymar in English Premier League”… for what? SO he could be on an opponent’s team?

  27. K Bone says:

    Well, Dzeko is playing pretty poorly lately and the majority of his goals were in the first half of the season. Even Aguero is not scoring like he used to. City are actually quite desperate at the moment for goals, hence Carlos Tevez playing again…

  28. K Bone says:

    Ha, while I agree with you, it’s funny because City are exactly that desperate, highly ambitious club, which is why they bought him in the first place…

  29. nic d "the TEXAS 2 stepper" says:

    Y E S !

  30. MemRook says:

    Lol “hunt” them. I just the mental of crazy Mario on the pitch in hunting gear taking out previous Man City teammates.

  31. MemRook says:

    I just *love* the mental image

  32. RLW2020 says:

    good point. I would not mess with a winning team that needs to perform well all the time to qualify. His inconsistency and issues throw a wrench into any manager’s plans. Also by allowing him to start constantly hasnt helped players like Aguero and Dzeko find their form.

    If he was on the USNT or a smaller club team where there arn’t too many other options then ya you have to figure out how to work with him. But teams like Italy and City have other options that will work.

  33. RLW2020 says:

    Cosmo’s first DP?

  34. MemRook says:

    Absolutely spot on. I’ve been an “MLS” fan since its inception. Grew up in Savannah, GA now live in Memphis, TN. I LOVE the league. It’s truly my favorite league on the planet.

    But which team am I “supposed” to follow??? I find myself following career paths and great story lines more than anything. Like when Dempsey was with NER. That was so fun to watch. Or now with the young american guns, cheering for their successes: Adu, Shea, Hamid etc. I like watching new teams with rabid fan bases: Sounders, Timbers etc. I love rags to riches tales: KC this year or Dallas a couple years ago.

    Point is, MOST of America don’t have any specific team to follow. We love the league but can’t latch on anywhere yet.

    The team I’ve come closest to feeling attached to is LA, back when they wore green and yellow and were erratic at best. I still want them to do well now but it’s harder and harder to feel that same affinity. I’m not sure why. If I got to CHOOSE where I’d move and be part of thr actual supporters group I’d say some where with awesome ultras, like Portland or RSL or even KC now.

  35. K Bone says:

    I’m fairly certainly Mancini and Mourinho do not want these qualities in him, and I think they know a thing or two. I’d wager plenty of other managers wouldn’t take him as well. There are plenty of players with passion who aren’t also psychos….

  36. Polo says:

    He isn’t anywhere close to Messi or CRonaldo.

  37. Polo says:

    If I was an Arsenal bench player. I would have beaten his face into a freaking pulp against the goal pipe.

  38. MemRook says:

    Why? He almost did you a favor, trying to injure an arsenal starter (song) and now you potentially have more playing time.

  39. MiamiAl says:

    The team you should be following is DC United! I know many southerners without a team that call DC United their team, as it might be the closest MLS team to the South, and its your nation’s capital! DC United is your team now. Get with the program! ;)

  40. MemRook says:

    Get a SSS and we’ll talk. Call that my preliminary offer.

  41. Joamiq says:

    Yes, I think he was pretty much the driving force behind their title challenge, and his poor run of form is the main reason why they’re now out of it. He is the orchestrator for that team. Without him, they’re a bunch of fancy parts with no direction.

  42. Joamiq says:

    Agreed. There’s no reason to go anywhere near a human train wreck.

  43. Ryan says:

    Second coming of Rabino/Adriano!

    To much $$$ at a young age, plus handlers in his ear telling him how great he is = this kid. Drop him or sell him he is worthless and a chemistry killer!

  44. Kevin_Amold says:

    Disagree. I think we both agree on how good a player he is, but you can’t blame all their troubles on just the one player.

  45. Mike r says:

    He should come to MLS where such hacking is condoned by the refs.

  46. coop says:

    Last I checked Texas was in the south and has two teams.

  47. coop says:

    But not the league anymore apparently.

  48. Northzax says:

    Isn’t his fourth red an automatic four game ban? Since there are six matches left in the season for MC, and their chances of a title will be decided in the next four, banishing him doesn’t mean much. But heck, if Tevez can find his way back to the circus, why not Mario next season?

  49. Neal says:

    Right there with you. I live in St. Pete and once the Mutiny were contracted, I was left without a club. Got tired of just watching games with a passive interest.
    Started following RSL from the (struggling) beginning since they were expansion and I didn’t see how I could jump in on a team that I had rooted against as a Mutiny supporter.
    Now, the Rowdies are back, so I get my local fix. But MLS is still my favorite league, and I too like watching story lines and career paths of USMNT players.

  50. deepvalue says:

    Mario would make an excellent pro wrestling villain.

  51. Joamiq says:

    OK, fair, I didn’t mean it was 100% on him. And I don’t mean to be too negative, as he was probably the best midfielder in the Premiership for most of the season and it’s hardly fair to expect anyone to keep playing like that all year long. But it’s no coincidence that the team’s fortunes have diminished just as he’s lost his form. Though, as you say, it’s not the only factor.

  52. Yoreau Snaub says:

    His finishing move would be a studs-up two-footed tackle from the top rope into the knee of a standing opponent.

    Then he just needs a manager who is equally as comical…hmm, maybe Mancini still has a job after all, following his eventual canning at City!

  53. joejoe says:

    Oh the English always with their hypocrisy. Mario is fine. He needs better guidance. He needs a new manager.

  54. Bumby Hemmingway says:

    Is Balotelli worth it?

    It depends on the team.

    A team with deep pockets and deep roster cannot and should not take risks on a player like Balotelli when they have the luxury of hiring just about any player in the world.

    A team a little further down the pecking order should view Balotelli as very much worth the risk as a player with his talent level can make the difference for a mid-level team in a big game.

    If he red cards out of the game in a losing cause game … then the harm is minimized because you were never favored in the first place.

  55. buff111 says:

    He’s a loose cannon.

  56. Johnny Thunder says:

    I had a 6 year old on my team who acted like that. His mommy and daddy didn’t lay the ground work so I cut him from my team to protect anyone from getting hurt.