Originally Posted by Betterread
I disagree with control freaks Mancini and Mourinho that Balotelli is a problem. He is undisciplined and he wears his emotion on his sleeve but I think he is targeted for way too much criticism. It is because he is the best Italian striker in a long time - and Italian soccer is on a 24 hour media cycle as the country's most popular sport.
I'm sorry, but borderline psychos like Mario Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo (all of these Real Madrid guys committ horrific fouls every year and Mourinho defends them to the letter) are in your " Tyson zone". Those three clearly go through brief periods of blind rage where they are really trying to hurt opponents. Balotelli's bad fouls (I remember him being redcarded vrs. Aresenal a few months back) seem more stupid than vicious.
Sergio Ramos, not Mario.
I agree that Balotelli isn't a thug. However he loses the plot was too often in the middle of a game and sometimes he stays lost for the next month. Mostly he's immature, which you get to be when you're young.
The real question is whether Balotelli is a physical specimen or if he's someone who'll develop into a truly great striker. He got taken to school Ramos and Pique today and didn't have a Plan B when it became clear he couldn't physically dominate them.
And Italy hasn't been doing too poorly in terms of producing strikers. It's just finishing up the Del Piero, Inzaghi, Totti, Toni, Vieri, Di Natale generation. Gilardino gets overlooked, IMO. I'd actually say the best Italian striker to come along recently is injured - Giuseppe Rossi. Balotelli's currently at the front of the next wave, but Fabio Borini or Mattia Destro (or a number of others) could easily overtake him.