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Will The Premier League Miss Super Mario?

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Controversial, entertaining, cocky, unpredictable, all of these and more could be used to describe Mario Balotelli, but boring certainly isn’t one of them.

The Italian striker joined Manchester City in the flurry of new signings under the ownership of the sheikhs, and it was not long before he established a reputation for stupidity that has been difficult to shift.

Like the other great characters of the game – Wayne Rooney’s temper, Luis Suarez’s simulation, George Best’s playboy lifestyle – Mario has the elements to be a top player, but this is often forgotten amongst the controversy.

The stories – and some of them are just that – are well known in the English game. Setting off fireworks in his bathroom, driving around Manchester city centre handing out money, the numerous driving offences, his antics became a part of football folklore in the short time he was in England.

As begrudging as it is to say as a Manchester United fan, his performances on the pitch last year did as much as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure eat al in deciding the title’s destination.

He was dominant in the infamous 6-1 debacle at Old Trafford, and his one credited assist came on the final day of the season, and could not have been more crucial – Aguero certainly took advantage of it, scoring his famous goal to win the trophy.

But will English football miss him. Some will say that we are losing a great character from the game, but I would point out that we have enough here to make up for it.

City fans are probably divided, with his ability always leaving the potential for goals, but he did not do it often enough, and a bust-up with the manager Roberto Mancini this season does not help team spirit.

In my opinion, he has had a successful, if controversial time in England, and he can look back on that with pride. Now you can bet he will do it all again with Milan in Italy – and he will never be boring.

By Daniel Matcham @@03matchamdan