Why Always Me will never walk alone…

Balotelli Man City PicWhy always me? That seems to be the question, and, the answer seems to be quite simple, really – because you make everything about you. Many players in the world would never get away with the mischievous crap that Mr. Balotelli has gotten away with in his career. He’s rubbed heads with Mourinho, who at one point called him “unmanageable,” and at another point, he even described managing him as a “comedy.” Even levelheaded Roberto Mancini’s had his fair share of fights with the kid, at one point even getting into somewhat of a physical altercation with him at the Man City training ground.

That said, at Milan last year, he was quite behaved, but is he really worth the risk for Balotelli Milan Pic
a Liverpool squad that’s bought into Brendan Rodger’s team mentality? I truly don’t know. The thought of Balotelli and Sturridge playing up front together seems rather mouth watering, but are they too similar of players? Will Balotelli give up on the pitch if things aren’t going right for him or the team? Those are questions that need to be considered…

Liverpool fans are known to be some of the best fans in the world. Above all else, they truly clamor over effort and work ethic on the pitch. As long as you give 100%, you’ll win over the hearts of their fans. But, does Balotelli play every game like it’s his last? Saurez truly embodied the mentality that Liverpool fans covet and relate to, like them, he’s a blue-collar guy. Furthermore, he plays every game with a passion that not too many players have, and that sometimes even he can’t handle (as represented by his three separate biting incidents). Plus, he produced on the pitch. Saurez worked for everything that he has today, not that Balotelli hasn’t, but Mario has been pampered his entire career, unlike his Uruguayan counterpart.

Saurez Balotelli PicSince he was a youth player, Balotelli’s antics have been put up with due to two things, his immense skill, and potential. But, now that he’s hitting the age of 24, that potential should have already been realized. Here’s what I mean by that: Had he already become world class as many expected, he wouldn’t have moved around so much, or been sold to Liverpool for a measly 16 million pounds. To put that in perspective, Barcelona bought Saurez for almost quadruple that price. And there’s a reason for that – although he’s sometimes just as ill-tempered, he’s also quadruple as talented. You can disagree with me there if you like, but, I’d stubbornly defend my point. The good news for Liverpool fans is that like Balotelli, Saurez came over to Liverpool when he was only 24, and over the course of the last three years, he’s developed into a world class footballer. So, Mario could conceivably do the same. But, because players of Suarez’s calibre are so rare, it’s hard to imagine that Balotelli will end up getting any better than he already is. I suppose Rodgers and the team around him will have a lot to do with his development.

Perhaps the best thing Balotell has to look forward to at Liverpool is the opportunity to play with such a young crop of talent. Balotelli crying picHe can grow with Sturridge, Henderson, Coutinho and Sterling. He can develop both in training and on the field with them. One moment that really stuck with me, was when he cried at Euro 2012, it expressed his desire for success, and if Rodgers can take him, and influence him to a point where the energy that he exerts into his silly antics is instead inserted into his energy on the field, he could be an awesome signing.

Italy, World Cup

Ciao Bella Italy

Italy vs Uruguay was quite a boring match – Until of course Saurez bit Chiellini, and the Italian defense squandered a header goal to Godin (a player that’s been outstanding for Atletico all year).

Saurez pic for BlogSaurez should surely face some retribution from FIFA for being the “Cannibal” that he is biting Chiellini. Honestly though, the ref bit Italy far worse than Saurez ever could – because Marchisio’s red card seemed completely unwarranted.

That said, Italy bit themselves in the foot when they took out Balotelli with the fear that he’d get another yellow card and be sent off due to his temper. Balotelli presented a physical challenge to Uruguay’s defense that the smaller Immobile did not. Throughout the match vs. Uruguay, and the entire World Cup, Italy has had trouble finding an attack – Costa Rica beat them, and they could only just beat England by one goal. One reason for this has been Marchisio’s ineffectiveness as an attacking mid supporting Balotelli.

Marco Verratti was Italy’s one bright spot throughout this Verretti pic for bloggame, and World Cup. He should have played further up, in Marchisio’s role, especially as he proved today his ability to dribble past defenders to start attacks from the back in his role next to Pirlo. Cesare Prandelli tinkered around with his team too much during Italy’s three games, and should have figured out his best lineup before the World Cup began.  It will be interesting to see Prandelli’s response to Italy’s first round exit, especially considering that Italy’s defense (known to be a stonewall) was quite unbalanced throughout. His decision to start three center backs in the back today was interesting, especially knowing that they only needed a tie. Rather than shore up the defense, three center backs seem to be their downfall – throughout the game Chiellini had been up the field on the left which seemed to be a ridiculous role for such a purely defensive player.

Another note from today’s game: Immobile failed to perform, and could not take down many through balls that Italy dejected picPirlo perfectly sliced through the defense, but… I can’t blame him, it takes time to establish a rhythm with a team, and he should have started all three games or had more time to gel before being inserted upfront.

Furthermore, some younger players like the tall and speedy Cerci should have played a bit more – Pirlo would have had a field day passing the ball to him and Balotelli as they both played upfront. In other words, Balotelli and Cerci are both 6 foot plus, technically sound, and remarkably quick, the perfect players for Pirlo to play the ball to, unlike the shorter Immobile.

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