Why do people hate Mario Ballotelli

The deep fall of Mario Balotelli

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Rome / Vienna - The picture went around the world. After he had shot Italy 2-0 lead in the semifinals of the Euro 2012 against Germany, Mario Balotelli tore his shirt off and posed like a bodybuilder on the lawn of the Warsaw National Stadium. Italy reached the final with a 2-1 win. Balotelli, who also scored the first goal, spoke of the "most beautiful evening of my life". He was 21 years old, almost at the beginning. The man has talent. His strengths: the technique, the speed, the goal closure. The football world should be open to him.

May 2016. The next European championship is imminent. Italy, who failed in the final four years ago to Spain (0: 4), are of course there. And Balotelli? Not. Unsurprisingly, the 25-year-old is missing from the 23-man squad that team boss Antonio Conte presented on Tuesday.

The man also has problems. Again and again he attracts negative attention. Indiscipline. In terms of football, he has been accused of a lack of commitment. Mario B.'s problems didn't just start in 2012. But in those four years, the striker's star burned out bit by bit. It was a turbulent four years: with club changes, with injuries, with behavioral problems.

Milan, Liverpool, Milan

He moved from Manchester City to AC Milan in 2013, from AC Milan to Liverpool FC, and from Liverpool he was loaned back to Milan. The contract runs until the end of June. Balotelli's future is uncertain. "Mario is keen to stay with Milan. So far, he has not deserved to stay," said Adriano Galliani, the club's manager, at the beginning of April. "He has to mature, Mario is not concentrating," said the sacked Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic in March.

Balotelli scored a goal in 20 league games last season. He was only in the starting line-up eight times. However, pubic bone surgery in November threw him back. The previous season at Liverpool was not more successful. He scored four times in 28 competitive games. His reputation preceded Balotelli. Several times he received fines for driving too fast, he fought with his ex-girlfriend about the maintenance payments for his daughter, and he provoked with statements and postings. An example: In July 2014, he posted a picture on Instagram that showed him with a gun. In addition the text: "A big kiss to everyone who hate me."

Code of Conduct

So when Balotelli returned to Milan the previous year, a strict code of conduct was imposed on him. He had to make a commitment to refrain from twittering, be on time, and appear with an appropriate haircut. Balotelli still wears a mohawk. Neither staying at AC Milan nor returning to the national team will fail because of that. Balotelli last played in the Squadra Azzurra two years ago, at the 2014 World Cup.

After the 2-1 win against England at the start in Brazil, Balotelli was still celebrated. He scored the winning goal. The "Gazzetta dello Sport" wrote: "The Balotelli we have always waited for is born." This was followed by 1-0 defeats against Costa Rica and Uruguay and the end in the preliminary round. A low point for the Squadra - and for Balotelli. "Balotelli shows the worst of himself: He walks sleepily and aimlessly on the field," wrote the "Corriere dello Sport" after the Uruguay game. There was also criticism from team boss Cesare Prandelli. "I told him after the World Cup that he had to leave his virtual world."

Conte is not a Balotelli fan

Antonio Conte followed Prandelli. And Conte renounced Balotelli. Consequent. Even an intermittent recovery in shape last autumn did not help. "He still has to prove so, so, so much," said Conte of the former star striker.

The EM has to do without the son of Ghanaian immigrants, who grew up with Italian foster parents, and probably Milan too. Recently there has been speculation about a move to Barcelona - not to big FC, but to small local rivals Espanyol. The club last finished 13th in the Spanish championship. Maybe Balotelli has to take a step back to enjoy great football evenings again. (Birgit Riezinger, May 30, 2016)