Player of the Day- Mario Balotelli
Updated Thursday, 5th July 2012
Player of the Day- Mario Balotelli.Italy and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been chosen as today?s ?Player of the Day?. More recently playing in the Euro 2012, Balotelli scored some skillful and impressive goals to help his country get to the finals against Spain. He also played alongside Sergio Aguero for parts of the season with Manchester City, in the absence of Carlos Tevez; he helped Roberto Mancini?s side to Premier League glory.
Mario Balotelli started his club career with Lumezzane, who are a small Italian side that play in the Lego Pro Prima Division. Balotelli joined their youth academy at the age of just 10, and after making two appearances for the senior team in 2005 he had an unsuccessful trial at Barcelona so he set his targets on Italian club Inter Milan. He managed to join the youth academy on loan for a season in 2006. Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini was impressed by Balotelli, and then bought him at the end of that season. He made his first team and Serie A debut for Inter Milan on the 16th December 2007, coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Cagliari. A few days after that win, he made a second appearance against Reggina in a Coppa Italia match; Balotelli scored 2 goals in a 4-1 win. Balotelli didn?t appear much that season in the Serie A, and had to wait till April 2008 to score his first Serie A goal in a 2-0 away win against Atlanta. Balotelli mainly featured in the Coppa Italia, in which he made a very good contribution towards Inter Milan winning it, scoring 2 goals in the second leg of a game against Juventus, sending his club through to the Semi Finals. He then came on as a substitute in the final of the Cup and crucially scored in the 83rd minute against Roma to make it 2-2, Inter then won the match 6-5 on penalties. Balotelli made 15 appearances, scoring 7 goals in all competitions; his first season was certainly showing to be a positive one.
Balotelli stayed with Inter Milan from 2007 through to 2010, winning the Serie A 3 times, the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Champions League. But after the sacking of Roberto Mancini on the 29th May 2008, Jose Mourinho was assigned as new head coach. Things quickly went downhill for Balotelli as his relationship with Jose Mourinho wasn?t very good, Balotelli?s performances on the pitch were getting worse and Mourinho started commenting in interviews on Balotelli?s bad performance on the pitch. His team-mates then started commenting on him, saying he needed to focus on his football. This conflict led to Balotelli appearing on an Italian show wearing an AC Milan shirt. After heavy criticism from Inter Milan fans, he made a statement saying
?I am sorry for the situation that has been created recently. I am the first person who has suffered because I adore football and I want to play, and now I am waiting in silence so I can return to being useful to my team. I want to put the past behind me, look to the future and concentrate on the upcoming commitments and make myself ready?.
Despite being recalled to the team, things did not improve and was signed to Premier League side Manchester City for ?22 million, being reunited with his old coach Roberto Mancini.
"His style of play will suit the Premier League, and because he is still so young there is a big chance for him to improve. He is a strong and exciting player, and City fans will enjoy watching him." On the 19th August 2010 Balotelli made his first appearance for Man City in the Europa League against Politahnica Timisoara, Balotelli scored his first goal, which turned out to be the winning goal as the game finished 1-0. Balotelli had to delay his Premier League debut after injuring his knee, but eventually made his first League appearance against Arsenal in a 3-0 home defeat. On the 21st December 2010, Balotelli was awarded with the ?Golden Boy Award? he then claimed that he was better than all the past winners, apart from Lionel Messi. Balotelli?s discipline let him down after being sent off in the Europa League against Dynamo Kiev. But he came back to form quickly towards the end of the season, being named as the man of the match in their FA Cup Final 1-0 win against Stoke. Balotelli made 28 appearances and scored 10 goals in all competitions for Man City that season.
In Balotelli?s second and most recent season with Man City, he started to become a more common striker alongside Sergio Aguero, due to the absence of Carlos Tevez. But his discipline was getting worse, outside of football he was constantly in the tabloids for all the wrong reasons, and after being sent off Against Arsenal in April 2012, Mancini said he is ?finished? with him. Despite his controversial season, he came on as a sub in the final game against QPR, setting up Sergio Aguero in extra time to win the game and the Premier League on goal difference over rivals Manchester United. Balotelli may not have the best discipline, but the 21 year-old still scored some fantastic goals for Man City, and has a very positive future ahead of him, he made 32 appearances, scoring 17 goals in all competitions.
Balotelli?s international career started with the Italy U-21 squad calling him up on the 29th August for matches against Greece and Croatia. Balotelli?s debut came on the 5th September 2008; he scored his first goal against Greece U-21s in a 1-1 draw. He then featured in the 2009 European U-21 Championship; Balotelli scored the opening goal of the tournament against Sweden, but was then shortly after red carded for retaliating to a poor challenge on him. Balotelli made his first appearance for the Italian senior team against Ivory Coast after the 2010 World Cup; they lost the game 1-0. Balotelli was included in the Euro 2012 squad, and had a very good tournament, scoring a brilliant volley against Ireland to secure their qualification from the group stages, he then sent Italy through to the Finals after scoring 2 brilliant goals against Germany in the first half of the Semi Final, and the game finished 2-1 to Italy. But Italy were stunned by a world class Spanish side in the final, who won 4-0 and are being compared to some of the best international teams in football history. Balotelli has made 14 appearances for Italy and scored 4 goals.
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