After months of speculation and transfer dealing brinksmanship, Mario Balotelli is an AC Milan player.
One of the rising stars of world football Balotelli’s two-and-a-half-year stint in Manchester saw him on the front pages more often for his off field shenanigans and his on field indiscipline rather than his prodigious talent. Taking a medical this afternoon in Milan after which he’ll put pen to paper on what is the biggest transfer deal of the January window.
Signing for a reported €24 million, that is considerably less than Manchester City’s initial valuation of €35 million, it still represents a rare splashing of cash by club president Silvio Berlusconi in what has been a period of financial gains rather than the customary big spending AC Milan fans have come to expect.
Balotelli was repotedly so desperate to return to Italy that he allegedly waved up to €1 million per year in wages in order to facilitate the transfer putting an end to a disasterous season with the Manchester club. Having only scored only one Premier League goal this season, he now has the chance of a fresh start and an exciting link-up with compatriot El Sharaawy.
For all his inconsistency and bewildering off-field behaviour Balotelli will be sorely missed by the fans of Manchester City, all Mancurians and not least Roberto Mancini, who stood by the enigmatic striker through thick and thin. After Jose Mourinho at Internazionale effectively described Baotelli as ‘unmanageable’ Mancini nurtured the young man and seemed to have hit the right formula of how to get the best out of him. And his first season at Eastlands was successful with 20 goals in 40 games and te crucial assist for Sergio Aguero’s last gasp title winner, but this season saw him increasingly alienated from the squad and reportedly drifting towards the types of hangers on and bad influences that are the bane of any team manager.
Again and again Mancini but his faith in Balotelli and staked his managerial authority and professional reputation on his talent, the official line form Manchester City is that the move was driven solely by Balotelli who wanted to take ‘his big chance’ to return to Italy. On a professional level Mancini will be somewhat pleased with the conduction of a deal that suits all parties, on a personal level, you feel he will miss the boy he has genuine love and affection for.
About to step into the cauldron that is the Itlaian Media glare of Serie A, Balotelli is realising a long held dream to play for AC Milan. Three years ago when things were turning sour at Inter and he appeared on television wearing the jersey of their cross-town rivals it was obvious that the player wanted to play for Milan. It was almost inevitable that he would be here, it could be his destiny. Anyway, destiny has dealt him the card he wanted, let’s see how he plays it, is destiny is in his own hands.
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Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, but once the turkey has been decimated, the presents have been opened, and dessert been struggled with, there’s always time for a little sports viewing.
If the month of November belonged to any one young player in Serie A this year it was Domenico Berardi, with four goals in two games for Sassuolo. Even though the he is only 19 years old people are asking if he is ready to the step up to co-owners Juventus.