Updated: Monday, 24th February 2020 @ 12:14pm

Debate: Why always him? Balotelli departs but the Premier League will sorely miss him

Debate: Why always him? Balotelli departs but the Premier League will sorely miss him

By Suraj Radia

Mario Balotelli left Manchester City this week and while the champions may not necessarily miss him, the Premier League certainly will.

The controversial forward completed his £17million move back to Italy by signing for AC Milan having scored 30 goals in 82 games for City.

Despite his respectable goal tally, Balotelli was always seen as an enigma – when he played well, he was unstoppable but when he wasn’t in the mood, you certainly heard about it.

Balotelli caused headlines at the wrong end of newspapers with his exploits including four sending-offs, bib fiascos, stamping, t-shirts and wild hair.

And that was just on the pitch – off it, you could write a book on his adventures.

If he wasn’t driving his camo-coloured car to the Trafford Centre to buy household necessities like a trampoline and a Scaletrix set, he was setting off fireworks in his bathroom.

There’s no doubt about it, Balotelli gave the Premier League something that, despite its self-proclaimed ‘best league in the world’ tag, it lacks – character.

But this was not seen positively by some members of the British press, with certain pundits labelling him a ‘disgrace’ and attacking his personality.

In a league with John Terry, Joey Barton and Ashley Cole among others, Balotelli was brandished ‘stupid’ and ‘brainless’ by Match of the Day pundits Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen.

However, when it came down to it, Balotelli was just like any other young man – determined, humble and enjoying life – he just has a unique way of living it.

And it’s easy to forget that under that woolly, chicken hat of his, he is a smart player and a very good footballer.

His record of a goal every 151 minutes and six shots per goal throughout his City career would put him well in the top 15 strikers in the league this season.

And for a man of 22, Balotelli’s composure shone throughout his career, with match-winning goals (including last minute penalties) and general big game performances against many sides.

There’s no doubt about it, be it Manchester United, Tottenham or even the German national team, when Balotelli’s on-form, he’s more than a match for any defence.

But there lies the problem – when he’s on-form. Unfortunately, his downfall came to his lack of consistency and it was something not even Roberto Mancini could control.

His boss, mentor and the man he described as a ‘father’, Mancini clearly felt let down by Balotelli's misdemeanours but never failed to support him.

There is plenty of time for Balotelli to mature, focus and fulfil his potential – and he’s been doing it well enough so far.

Three Serie A titles, Champions League winner, four domestic trophies in Italy and England, a European Championship runner-up and a Premier League champion – not a bad record for an apparently disruptive player.

To the people that matter, Balotelli will never be forgotten, not because of his eccentric style but simply for providing the pass that produced a euphoric moment for City fans.

No-one will ever forget Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal against QPR last season and the commentary from Martin Tyler accompanying it which enshrined Balotelli into football folklore.

Ultimately, the move is good for Mancini, Mario, Milan and Man City but the Premier League, and perhaps Manchester, is losing out on real talent, both on and off the pitch.

And they may not even know it. Why always him?

Images courtesy of Yahoo UK, with thanks.