Mario’s Milan Debut
The prestige of Serie A, may have faltered over the last couple of years. If you think about it the last time any real landscape headlines came from Italy’s premier league, took place during Internaziole’s Jose Mourinho era.
That was until a certain enigma by the name of Mario Balotelli returned home to his native country, albeit to his former clubs fiercest rivals AC Milan. His reported £17m move to the club he supported as a child, had created a frenzy in Italy, scenes of a barrage of fans awaiting his arrival outside a local restaurant was the start of many things to come from fans of AC Milan and their new superstar Mario Balotelli.
At Manchester City Super Mario was made to bide his time amongst a star-studded forward line consisting of some of Europe’s most lethal forwards Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez. At AC Milan however it has already become apparent that there is only one man capable of leading the line in a 4-3-3 formation. Without being too over analytical of Balotelli’s body language, you could sense that the Italian had a newly found aura about himself as he walked onto the pitch with his famed 45 number at the back of his jersey. It was all about him. It was his Superbowl before the Superbowl.
Kicking off with the Azzuri’s brightest hope Stephan El Shaarawy against Udinese at the San Siro, Balotelli knew that his time had arrived to set the stadium alight with his audacious talent. Within the first few seconds he had already hit the post after beating a man and hitting a long range strike. Already we were looking at a new Balotelli, a happy Balotelli.
Walking around the pitch with his languish style there was not much that you could tell Balotelli, he knew his role, he knew what was required of him, in Shawn Michael’s fashion he had to steal the show. And he did just that on 24 mins, El Shaarawy linked up with fellow Italian Riccardo Montolivo and split the defence open with a one-two before playing the ball into the feet of Balotelli, with there being only one result. And soon Balotelli was revelling in the adulation from his new fans.
But there was to be a false protagonist in Balo’s Italian homecoming as Udinese equalised shortly after. Fans were on edge for the remainder of the game, it was believed to be a case of new player same old Milan, can’t see a game out. French whizkid, Mbaye Niang sporting a similar look to Balotelli hit the crossbar in the last 15mins. El Shaarawy tried his luck on a few occasions but the score still remained 1-1.
That was until a dubious decision went AC Milan’s way; a penalty was given for a tackle on Il Farone, El Shaarawy. Talk of match-fixing has been evident in Italian Football for many years and you could not fault doubters for suspecting that Italian Football had played their most deadly card once again. Only one man was expected to place the ball on the spot and that was Mario.
After the smallest of deliberation from another former City man Robinho, who thought that he would be best suited to take the last minute penalty, the Italian was ready to seize his moment. And just like we had been accustomed to in the Premier League Balotelli had duly delivered from the spot and won the game with the last kick of the game on a hero’s welcome at the San Siro.
And there you have it. The Mario Balotelli era is well and truly underway…
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)