Mario Balotelli: a name once associated with great potential and quality, now considered more of a riddle in the footballing universe. Some have even gone far enough to call him a joke after his woeful form last season with Liverpool.
So why was his season so woeful? Let's find out by analysing Balotelli's career so far. The 24-year-old Italian seemed to be destined for glory after showing such promise as a teenager with Inter Milan - which opted then Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, to snap him up for Manchester City in the Premier League. Though Balotelli had his fair share of off field antics with the citizens and was never far from controversy, most could argue he had his spot of glory in a City shirt.
His most important moments being; his only ever assist for City which provided Sergio Aguero with the infamous last minute title winning goal, his performance in the 6-1 Manchester Derby at Old Trafford in the same season.
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His game winning penalty against Spurs in added time to help the blues along to the 2011/12 premier league title and his shot that rebounded to Yaya Toure for the winning strike in the 2011 FA Cup final against Stoke City.
All these moments have something in common - they all came in 2011 and 2012. The best moments in Balotelli's career so far, including a stunning performance for Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany, where a brace from the Italian dragged them through to the final to play Spain. Ever since Balotelli lost the final however, it's been downhill from there.
After a fairly unimpressive six months with City after their title win, Mario Balotelli made a switch to the San Siro with AC Milan. Balotelli's form then improved dramatically with Milan - with the striker scoring 12 goals in 13 games which guided them to champions league qualification. However, the season after his form dropped and was sold to Liverpool for a fee of £16 million.
The rest is history - Balotelli severely unimpressed with one Premier League goal all season for the reds to his name. However, the question still lingers - will Super Mario live up to the name next season and restore his reputation? I doubt it. Especially with recent reports linking him with a move back to Italy, which seems like a huge possibility after last season's performances.
Liverpool fans have kept faith in the controversial Italian despite his disappointing campaign, so if he were to stay - the recent fresh quality that Brendan Rodgers has added to his roster, including a possible signing of Christian Benteke, could spark Ballotelli back into form. Another factor that could come into play is the injuries to key players such as Daniel Sturridge.
If Sturridge were to remain fit, it could definitely help Balotelli's game as he suits playing off a partner upfront. Provided him and Sturridge develop an understanding of eachother's game, that partnership could be devastating with Balotelli's hidden quality yet to be discovered by the Reds.
Hopeful theories aside though, if the Italian really wants to win over the Liverpool faithful, he'll have to put the recent disinterest and sluggishness aside and start adapting his game to suit the club's style of play.
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