I know, most of you are probably thinking I'm crazy or that I know nothing about football. Maybe I am crazy – maybe I really am ignorant about football – but first let me explain. Because in my head (at least) this idea makes sense, and I want to share it with you even if most (probably all) of you still disagree with me.
His market value is at its lowest point
Despite being relatively young, StraordiMario has seen his value decrease year after year. Why? It could be one of several reasons:
- He has never been able to live up to the expectations he created around himself in his seasons at Inter when he was still a youngster.
His only positive campaign after the one with the Nerazzurri was the one at AC Milan, where he scored 30 goals in just 54 appearances between January 2013 and June 2014. While with the Citizens he played 80 matches and scored only 30 goals. But his worst season by far is his most recent, at Anfield, where he scored just 4 goals in 28 games for Liverpool.
- He did all he could to be in the headlines, but for the wrong reasons. Remember when he shot fireworks from a window and set his house on fire? Or that time when he threw darts at youth players just to prank them? These are only a few of the shenanigans with which Balo decided to delight us, and the list could go on for days.
- His behavior on the field is not always impeccable, to say the least. He has always been labeled as lazy and indolent, but it was mostly due to his often arrogant looks rather than for actual lack of commitment. This video shows how Balotelli is, in fact, a player capable of working very hard on the pitch and I believe that with the right motivation he could play like that every time he is on the field.
Liverpool, after his disastrous season with them, have decided to put Mario on the market - they even tried to make a Balo - Kovacic swap deal with us. They are desperately trying to find a buyer who is willing to take the good side and the bad side of a player like Balo, even for less than €22 Million, since that is what they payed Milan to acquire him just a year ago. Inter sold Balotelli in 2010, when he was just 20 years old, to Manchester City for €30 Million. So Inter would be getting back an obstensibly more mature (?) player for one third less than what they sold him for 5 years ago. On paper, it looks like a bargain.
He wouldn't be our regular striker
Inter wouldn't have to rely solely on him in the goal-scoring department. Icardi just signed a contract extension with the Nerazzurri, and it seems he is not keen on leaving the club this summer. Balotelli would be our back-up centre-forward - at least in the beginning - and, if he proves he deserves more than just playing second half minutes Mancini could decide to let him be a starting forward in place of Icardi or even as a second striker (though that's not his natural position).
It's still unclear how Mancini wants to play next season, but seeing which players Inter is pursuing in the market -Salah, Perisic - it's safe to assume that the most probable formation he would field is the 4 - 3 - 3. And, if that's true, there would be no space for two centre-forwards. Mario has the ability to be a decent winger, and his versatility as a forward could really come in handy - especially in emergency situations.
He owes a lot to Mancini
Balotelli was just a kid when Mancio decided it was time to bring him to Inter's first squad. Mario made his Serie A debut on December 19, 2007, playing just a few minutes. Three days after that, Balo scored his first two official goals with Inter in a 4-1 Coppa Italia victory against Reggina. That year he made 15 overall appearances, netted 7 goals, and kicked off what appeared to be the beginning of a promising football career. Mourinho replaced Mancio the next season, but the Italian coach wanted him on his team again 2 years later, when he was on Manchester City's bench, and in the very first season here Balotelli made 28 appearances for the Citizens, a sign that Mancini trusted him, a lot. It was clear the two didn't always see eye to eye, but in many interviews Mancini has said he loves Mario and he also let him hang out with his sons.
Balotelli got skills
Too many times we forget the most important part of a being football player: actually being able to play football. Balotelli is good; this is an undeniable fact. He is not too quick, but he has pace; his dribbling skills are above-par and he has a powerful yet accurate shot. He has similar physical features and football skills to Ibrahimovic (I said similar, calm down!). But he never found a way to rise to greatness like the Swedish god did, and he may never find it because of his immature mentality. Here are some videos showing how good Balo can be when he plays at his best.
Now that I've explained why I believe Inter should at least consider the possibility of bringing Balotelli back to our club, you are free to disagree with me. Admittedly, Balo gave Inter fans so many reasons to hate him back when he was a Nerazzurro. I wouldn't blame anyone for still having bitter feelings towards him.
I will always think that it's not all his fault, though. Too many times he was the target of racial hate; he was labeled a buffoon way before he was given the opportunity to act like one, and the expectations on him were very high from the outset. But maybe he was just a kid thrown into the lions' cage too soon.
Maybe Super Mario deserves one more chance to prove himself at the San Siro.