Balotelli, known to friends and fans as ‘Super Mario’ – presumably for his ability to make Jose Mourinho hit his head against a brick so the Italian can collect gold coins, has been rumoured to secure a summer move away from the San Siro after numerous altercations between him and his former coach amid a plethora of criticism from fans.
Disquietingly, a fair amount of the criticism the forward has received during his time at Inter has sourced from racial disharmony. After scoring against Juventus in a Coppa Italia quarter-final in his first season with the Nerazurri, the 19-year-old became a central hate figure for the fans of the Old Lady. Juventus fans consequently received several match bans and capacity restrictions at their home ground after chanting several vile taunts relating to Balotelli.
These attacks preceded the subsequent incidents involving the Italian forward, in which Jose Mourinho called into question the Italian’s commitment. It’s impossible to tell whether the confrontations are a result of Balotelli’s disillusionment following the racial slurs or simply evidence of a prima donna attitude, in either case, his response has won him no supporters. The forward has, perhaps justifiably, received a thunderous amount of criticism for his poor performances and melodrama exhibited on the pitch. Balotelli was even spotted sporting an AC Milan shirt last season which obviously incurred the wrath of many already frustrated supporters.
It’s safe to conclude then that Balotelli can be described as ‘damaged goods’. On the up side though, the Italian managed to get on his name on the score-sheet 9 times in 26 league appearances last season and, despite being only 19, overall the forward has racked up near 60 appearances for his club already, scoring 20 times. Inter’s number 45 also became the Champions League’s youngest goal-scorer in November 2008 with a goal against Cypriots Anorthosis Famagusta.
So far, the sulky youngster has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and has apparently been monitored by Manchester United, but recent reports would suggest that the striker, who is rumoured to be valued at £30million, may be plying his trade at Eastlands next season if the club are willing to reply in kind to Moratti’s offer of a deal. The striker’s agent as also hinted that a departure to Manchester is a real possibility.
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