Does Mario Balotelli look like a €250 million striker now?

Balotelli

The Manchester City striker's agent made a bold statement this summer after his Euro 2012 heroics, but at the Etihad he remains a frustrating figure.

Marion Balotelli showed his very best and worst at Euro 2012. His ridiculous slow-motion run in Italy's opener against Spain was one example of his unpredictability, and going missing in the final against the winners was another.

Yet his two goal salvo to fire down Germany in the semi-final was the moment which will live in the memory, along with his unique posturing celebration which inspired a million internet viral tributes.

The double strike inspired his controversial agent Mino Raiola to claim the maverick forward was worth a whopping €250 million.

"I have always said that Mario Balotelli is one player that could become the strongest in the world, he is probably amongst the strongest in Europe.

"How much is he worth? He is worth what the market says, he is one that can make a difference.

"In the actual market I don't think there is a value for him but if I had to give a price I would say he is worth 250 million (euros).

"I say this to give a figure but you would have to ask the City owner (Sheikh Mansour) how much he is worth."

While Cristiano Ronaldo; sold for £80 million in 2008, and Lionel Messi were tearing it up in a footballing masterpiece in El Clasico on Sunday night, Mario Balotelli had a rather different display.

As the club beat Sunderland 3-0 - claiming their first clean sheet of the season, Balotelli was subbed off and walked straight down the tunnel, before boarding a flight back to Italy, where he is expected to join up with the Azzurri's national squad for their World Cup qualifiers.

Even City star Aleksandr Kolarov said he had to fight Balotelli for the free-kick from which he scored City's opener at the weekend. On the pitch the Italian looked disinterested and put in a below par display, and it was no surprise to see him taken off in the second half.

With the competition for places in the squad, it was a surprise to see him not make more of a claim for a regular spot, but with Balotelli, fans are becoming used to this type of performance. Add to the mix his increasingly soap-opera like personal life, and it has not been an ideal start to the season for the striker.

He may be 22, and have a bright future in football ahead of him, and as a scorer of two goals in a European Championship semi-final, nobody can argue with his achievements and potential, perhaps in comparison to what Messi and Ronaldo had each achieved at such an age.

But if he does not buck his ideas up soon, he may have to park such ideas and comparisons, as an increasingly exasperated Roberto Mancini City may feel he is not worth the hassle and decide to move him on. 

For considerably less than €250 million.

image: © praguegallagher

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