AC Milan have agreed to sign Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli for 22m euros. The enigmatic striker, called a lazy waste of space by some while for others he was a comic genius, has never been far from the headlines in his few short years in the Premier League.
It could prove shrewd business for either team, for Manchester City, it is a high price for a striker who has been as much a hindrance to the team as a help, while for Milan, 22m Euros could be a small price to pay for a promising young footballer. That is if they can temper his explosive nature of course.
The Italian club’s director Umberto Gandini confirmed the transfer via twitter, with Balotelli set to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract after passing a medical.
It is perhaps, Balotelli’s dream move, he has never hid his affection for AC Milan, despite playing for arch rivals Inter. Former Inter team-mate Marco Materazzi recently revealed how Balotelli would every now and again turn up for training at Inter wearing Milan socks. As playful punishment, Materazzi would take the scissors to them. Balotelli was also caught wearing the famous red and black shirt after TV show Striscia la Notizia managed to get him to sport it.
The controversial side of Balotelli has been the focus for the British press, from throwing a dart at a youth team player, to setting alight to his bathroom after playing with fireworks, the stories practically write themselves. The latest incident involving a training ground spat with manager Roberto Mancini, may have hastened his departure form the Etihad.
His bad boy attitude translated to poor discipline on the pitch as he picked up 11 yellow cards as well as sendings off in Premier League games against Liverpool and Arsenal. In the meantime his goal scoring ability has suffered. While in the 2011-12 season he scored 20 goals in 40 appearances, this season he has only scored a relatively meagre three goals in 20 appearances, albeit 12 from the bench.
Whether moving to his dream club will be helpful for Balotelli remains to be seen. Rivals Manchester United had similar issues with a youth player, Ravel Morrison, who was heralded as the next big thing, only for him to waste his talent through misbehaviour and criminal activity. Unfortunately, I expect things will likely be similar with Mario. One thing, however, is certain, Mario will certainly be missed by the British press. I guess they will have to go back to focussing on footballing matters for a change.
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