Either he is the best player in the world or the worst according to the press. Can't it be anywhere in between?
I for one am rather fed up with the hype surrounding Italy’s 21-year-old striker Mario Ballotelli. There is no doubt that he is a good forward, but to say he will go on to be the world’s best is ridiculous.
I realise it may be perceived by some as a controversial viewpoint, but if it wasn’t for his antics ‘Super’ Mario would be like any ordinary striker. If Antonio Di Natale had done the same would he be lauded in the same way? Or Antonio Cassano?
Granted he scored two goals in the recent 2-1 victory against Germany, however, his first goal was from inside the six-yard-box, which any other striker would have put away and his second goal was a one-on-one opportunity that he was expected to hit the target with.
Credit where credit's due - his goal against Ireland was very well taken, but would we call the likes of Paulo Di Canio, Tony Yeboah world class due to scoring a great goal?
Many argue the Premier League needs a player like Balotelli, however, it seems as though he is being remembered for is off field antics rather than the ones that pay his wages. Against Spain in the group stages he was laughable.
Balotelli is surely not the talent that all think he is, he found himself left out of the Manchester City starting 11 during the title run-in, behind Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.
Balotelli's credited with all the attributes to go ahead and become an amazing centre forward; He has excellent pace, he is agile and his finishing can be clinical.
Right now - he is not world class - against England he looked like he couldn't hit a barn door, wasting several clear chances, so after bagging two against Germany, opinion seems to have dramatically swung the other way. Where is the perspective?
There is no halfway with Balotelli, but that is exactly what he needs to stay balanced. He needs consistency, and to settle off the pitch, to prove himself.
Those that say, ‘he is only 21, he will get better’ should look at how far Lionel Messi, 25 and was at the same age, he may be one of a kind, but if he is the player he is compared to, then he will always fall short.
Although, I wish him all the luck to develop into a world class striker, he needs to show maturity in order to merit such highly regarded comments.
He can go a long way to earning the status by proving me wrong and helping Italy beat Spain in the final. If he doesn't, it should be a reminder and further evidence that he is not quite there yet.
Is Balotelli world class? How do you define the term?
image: © praguegallagher