And as quickly as he came, he is gone. He’s heading back home, where people most likely still do not understand him. Yes, Mario was sold from Man City to AC Milan, in a move that was hopefully beneficial to both parties. A lot has been made of Mario’s antics on and off this pitch, his talent, and his complete lack of commitment to getting the most out of it. And while we now know that most of these stories are the stuff of tabloid legend, I still choose to think of Mario’s time at City as the stuff of legends.
Was he the most prolific goal scorer? NO, in fact he was quite the opposite. Moody and sullen, pouting like a child when the service was not their or recklessly flying into challenges and earning well deserved red cards. But Mario was an entertainer. For all of the talk about his stupid antics, his notorious ways, one could never say he was not entertaining.
He might be stupid, but it is genius the way he has limited the access of the media to him and let his legends grow. He has become a modern day tall tale. The Paul Bunyon of football. He take a trip to fill up his tank of gas in his car, and somehow through the internet and social media it turned into him buying gas for everybody that came through for the next hour. A simple Christmas shopping trip turned into him walking around Manchester in a SANTA suit passing out 100 pound notes. Every time I hear a story about Mario, I laugh and think, “Oohhh Super Mario is at it again!” But NOT once did I actually question the accuracy of the story, because there is nothing I would read that I thought he might not do. From Camo’ing up his Bentley to renting a van because he could not bring all the girls home to his place from the club in said Bentley.
A recent article wrote about how all these things are simply false propaganda, created by the media, that Balotelli is just an average guy, eccentric, but average. I ask if we really need to know that? Was the wizard of Oz better once the curtain was pulled back? NO! So, let us enjoy Mario, we need more personality in this game. We need his antics and hijinxs. Give me the tall tales any day, because it is more entertaining. I am tired of hearing about teammates sleeping with each other’s wives and players visiting pros. I’d rather hear about Mario going out for an ironing board and coming back with an ATV 4-wheeler, trampoline, and some crisps.
My point is that by distancing himself from all of the social interaction typical of a footballer, yet embracing the “possibly” fictitious persona, Mario has managed to create an image of ridiculous awesomeness that we have never seen. Yes, his performances on the field have been mediocre to poor this season, yet AC Milan was already selling his jerseys before the transfer was even finalized. He might not be a role model or a genius or a knucklehead, but he is entertaining as hell.