You could argue that Mario Balotelli courts controversy. But we feel that he gets an unfair share of criticism for being little more than a colourful character who went from rags to riches.
He’s got the reputation of a trouble-maker without necessarily having the history or CV to match. Sure, he had a few scuffles in training and let some fireworks off in his house.
But he looks like a fine specimen of a man to us – a player who keeps himself in brilliant shape. As we all know, that sort of fitness and physique doesn’t JUST HAPPEN – even at 24 you sadly need to work for a six pack.
But, to dust down an old cliche, strikers are judged on their goals and Mario only had one for Liverpool before the midweek game against Swansea in The Capital One Cup.
But his excellent cameo as a sub will, hopefully, be the springboard for a decent goal return over the next few months. He scored one on Tuesday and played a part in the other as Liverpool fought back late from a 1-0 deficit.
The press is regularly reactionary and loves to shoot down a player before he has even had a chance. And some supporters have implied to us that Balotelli doesn’t care or doesn’t try. We don’t see that in his game at all. He wants success at least as much as any fan – it’s his career after all and he loves playing football.
Balotelli is clearly a top striker who needs good management and a bit of luck. Given those things he can become a crucial player for Liverpool.
But, if he continues to be scrutinised in this intense way by the press, then he may buckle under the pressure – we do hope not because he’s a real character and a super player.