What to do with Mario Balotelli?
Prior to Friday night's encounter with Roma, Milan assistant coach Mauro Tassotti warned striker Mario Balotelli that he must not "drift" out of games. Drift is what the Italian international did in the 2-0 defeat, and while his post-game reaction didn't help matters, head coach Clarence Seedorf appears to be the loudest voice in a diminishing group of supporters.
Sky Sport Italia pundit Giancarlo Marocchi faced the wrath of the 23-year-old, with Balotelli insisting that it will take time to become a top player. Balotelli argued that when the Rossoneri win, he is celebrated as being great, but when Milan lose suddenly it is all his fault.
To an extent, Balotelli has a point to his argument, but naturally given his perceived personality, he did himself no favours in becoming involved in the conversation and reacting so negatively towards criticism.
Marocchi later claimed that Milan had given up on trying to deal with him by sending him out to the media despite his clearly irritable mood, with transfer speculation continuing to link him with a summer move to various clubs around Europe.
The former midfielder poignantly suggested that the Milan star should have the humility to watch, learn and do more for his teammates, and instead of accepting part of the blame, he chose to insult instead.
The incident left former Milan star Zvonimir Boban far from impressed too, as he claimed that opinion is pretty clear on Balotelli, while he labelled his performance against Roma as "shameful" having merely "walked around the pitch annoying his teammates".
Having defended Balotelli throughout his career, there is no denying the talent that he has, but at the same time there is no denying that he has a significant way to go in becoming one of the best in the world.
In many ways, his overall game has arguably regressed over the last two years as aside from his goal-scoring ability, the Balotelli of today in my opinion isn't the same as the one who led Italy to the final of Euro 2012.
His goals are often spectacular, but that is surely not the only requirement of him from Milan who should see him as their leader and most influential player, but is he legitimately a "champion" in the making or are the expectations merely just too high?
Pundits have insisted that Balotelli claims to be the victim too often, and that it is he who should be apologising to his teammates for such a poor performance. In fact, his display in Rome was of such a poor standard, that his place in the Azzurri starting line-up has come under scrutiny over the past week.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Italy coach Cesare Prandelli may consider his options ahead of Brazil in terms of using Balotelli as a starter, but while you can still expect the Milan man to be leading the charge, he must start taking responsibility again and hold his hands up when he is in the wrong.
In contrast, FIGC president Giancarlo Abete stood by the under-fire striker this week, claiming that he is still a game-changer and that he has faith in Prandelli to get the best out of him. Nevertheless, there are strong claims that Milan will assess their options in the summer transfer market.
When Balotelli is on his game, he is an indispensable part of what Milan are attempting to achieve in the next few years. However, when he falls short, he becomes a liability, and that is a real shame considering the majority of supporters want to see him succeed.
What did you make of Balotelli's performance against Roma, and his post-game reaction? Has the response been harsh or should these questions be asked of him?
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