Mario Balotelli: Is he Worth the Risk?


Jul 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Manchester City midfielder Bruno Zuculini (36) and AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli (45) fight for a loose ball during the second half of a friendly at Heinz Field. Manchester City won 5-1.Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Liverpool have had backed up a tremendous 2013/2014 EPL season with an equally successful transfer window.  But their most recent signing really confuses me.  Mario Balotelli was unveiled yesterday as the Merseyside based clubs newest summer signing. The 24-year-old striker joins Brendan Rogers side bringing with him two suitcases full of trouble.

Enough is enough.  Liverpool will be the fourth major club that tries to topple Mario from his throne of immaturity.  It cannot be contested that “Super Mario” scores goals, and not just ordinary goals, spectacular goals that get thousands of YouTube hits.  The Italian striker netted 26 goals for A.C. Milan, 20 for Manchester City and another 20 for Inter Milan.  The past three years were good to Balotelli from a goal scoring perspective. However, following those goals have been a trail of PR nightmares.

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Liverpool have great locker room chemistry.  Their squad became close as they made a great run in the EPL last season.  With the addition of Southhampton’s star man Adam Lallana and the Serbian gem Lazar Markovic, Liverpool made some great additions to their attack.  It may be tough to replace arguably the world’s best striker, Luis Suarez.  But new signing Rickie Lambert, who in now way is of Suarez’s caliber, will provide depth in their attack.

So why sign Mario Balotelli?  Sure, Balo scores when Balo wants.  But at what cost? Balotelli will not be a instant starter at Anfield.  Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert all have plentiful experience in the first division of English soccer.  So, the controversial Italian will have to bide his time on the bench, feeding on the scraps of playing time that he is given until he can prove himself worthy of being a regular in the EPL.  Surely, based on past experiences, this will not sit well with Balotelli.

During his time at Manchester City the striker was suspended for 11 matches during the 2011/2012 season due to various disciplinary reasons, including an incident where he stomped on Scott Parker.  He had a falling out with head man Roberto Mancini that ensured his transfer to a different club.

Before his time at City, Balotelli caused a stir in Italy with the side Inter Milan.  Most famously known for his poor relationship with then manager Jose Mourniho, Balotelli famously criticized several senior players and went on a television show sporting an A.C. Milan (Inter Milan’s rival club) kit.  Not surprisingly, Balo did not manage to win over any fans at Inter.

It also should be noted how easily Milan let Balotelli leave their club.  Certainly a player of his quality is worth more money.  Why did Milan not put up much of a fight to keep the controversial Italian?

Liverpool fans will have to put their faith in Rogers and the board, and they have every reason to trust them both.  However, I have my doubts that Rogers will be able to keep up the harmony in his dressing room with the addition of this large personality. Keeping all of his talented attackers happy will be quite the task.

Mario Balotelli is going to draw unwanted attention to Anfield, that is a guarantee. Will the goals be worth it?  Probably not.  With a plethora of talented attackers already under contract, Balotelli’s goals will be overshadowed by the drama and turmoil that are sure to ensue.  The real question is, when will clubs give up on Balotelli?