Mario Balotelli to MLS?
Although the header is far from factual and it has the remotest chances of actually occurring, one can make a case a loan move to the MLS may actually do young Mario a world of good. Before the “pros” of such a move are discussed, I will say, even as an avid follower of the MLS, the game in the United States is not to the standard of European football. I am under no illusions that the best MLS clubs could consistently perform in Europe.
Mario Balotelli. You either love him or you hate him. There is a mountain of evidence to support each viewpoint. But one may ask them self, “Why does this young man act out and self-destruct?” It would appear he has it all. Young, rich, top notch footballer…..At age 20 he has destroyed relationships, both personal and professional, which may never be repaired yet he always finds a new club to take him in thus repeating this vicious cycle. Is this all Mario’s fault or are others to blame? Surely when Manchester City bought him for what is believed to be a £24 million transfer they knew what they were getting themselves into right? Right?
Maybe not. Balotelli is such a talent managers and club chairmen roll the dice to acquire the forward in hopes of controlling his volatile personality and getting the best football possible out of him. Yet Mario has proved difficult to contain. Why does he continue to ruin his opportunities at the clubs which have graciously opened their arms to him?
While I am no psychiatrist or psychologist I can diagnose what ills Balotelli. There is however a few stories from his personal life which may shed some light into what he is thinking.
Balotelli’s birth family gave him up to be fostered as young boy. His medical condition (documented elsewhere) and their lack of resources to provide for a destitute immigrant family drove Balotelli’s birth family to turn to the welfare system in Brescia for help. There he was fostered by an Italian family, the Balotellis. Young Mario had to interpret a real world adult situation as a young child. There were also issues when he was a youngster at school. He was often blamed for misdeeds which were no fault of his own. It seems the seeds of rejection and non-acceptance was present from an early stage of his life.
Not yet even a man of legal age Balotelli made his debut for Inter at age 17. Success soon followed. Goals against Juventus and Reggina in the Coppa Italia caused the adulation and wrath of many. Just as quickly as he rose be began to be cut down by racist abuse hurled from the stands. Here was the idea of rejection again. A young man who had not been given the tools to put it all into prospective created his coping mechanism to deal with the abuse and the pressure of being a professional footballer. Instead of seeking help Mario lashed out at critics and detractors. Cue the vicious cycle. Public fall outs with Mourinho and with the national set-up have left him where he is today, at Manchester City. It is now up to Roberto Mancini to keep Balotelli under control. His current wages are estimated to be at £120,000 a week. If he can’t find a way to stay on the pitch, few clubs would be willing to pay such an amount for a player.
Loan move to the MLS
Outlandish forms of racism are faux pas here in the States. No banana throwing or monkey chants from the stands are socially accepted. Recently, Thierry Henry stated he would never return to play in Europe. No doubt because of his advancing age but because he has found life here in the States to be more socially acceptable than his time in Europe. He can even take the subway in New York without any one recognizing him. Henry has made no secret he had grown tired of the abuse in Europe. Maybe this is what Balotelli needs. A short stint in a country where getting daily parking tickets or breaking up with his girlfriend via text message on live television would not garnish the attention it gets now from European rag media. Without question a move to the MLS would be considered a “step down” but would be a decisive one in Balotelli’s life. The coaching, competition, and the risk of not being called up to international duty are all deterrents but hasn’t Balotelli already caused enough problems that a short loan spell would cause further damage? Is Balotelli a troubled man or is he a petulant child? Coming to country where football is not at the forefront may just be exactly what he needs to get the focus so well needed by the world’s top footballers.
The MLS would never accept such a talented player without knowing he can make a splash in public relations, attendance or revenue. As a league they don’t want to be considered as a “stop-gap” or “stepping stone” for a player’s career. It is a shame really. Mario Balotelli’s well-being may be at stake.