I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Super Mario. His childish behavior only makes me want to send him to his room without dinner. After his two yellow card performance against the Czech Republic the other day, most quickly jumped to the conclusion that it is the same old Mario.
Balotelli deserved the first yellow card, of that there can be no question. The booking he received from referee Svein Oddvar for his needless challenge on the Czech Republic’s Michal Kadlec was completely uncalled for. The second yellow has also completely uncalled for except this time it was from referee Oddvar. Balotelli was booked for striking Gebre Selassie in the face when both were jumping for the ball. The replay shows a little contact but not enough for a card.
The cameras caught Balotelli exiting the pitch and down the tunnel where he first struck the wall several times with his fist and then began kicking the other wall. It is images like this that allow most of us to believe that Mario will never grow up.
Over this past year, it has really been noticeable that defenders are putting him under more pressure. They have also been much more aggressive toward him hoping that he will lose his composure and strike back at them. Referees are also keeping a closer eye on him; so when he is on the pitch he has to really be careful of his play. In order for Balotelli to progress, he will have to make a conscious effort to be aware of such tactics and learn that the best way to retaliate is to score goals, not make bad tackles or throw elbows.
Balotelli has been less in the spot light for his antics since his move from Manchester City to AC Milan, but more for his scoring and exceptional play on the pitch. Only time and a lot of patience from his managers will allow Balotelli to grow and become the dominate player that most believe he can be. Balotelli is a unique talent and has great ability. If he is one day able to master his anger and outbursts, there will be no stopping him. Right now, he is the only one who is stopping that progress.