FT 2019 Preview: Could a change of scenery be on the horizon for SuperMario?
The Italian Stallion, Mario Balotelli Barwuah had a relatively quiet 2018 by his standards. The 28-year-old was not as productive on the pitch as a result of the instability of his relationship with OGC Nice’s new coach, Patrick Vieira.
Learning from his career patterns, one realises that the forward of Ghanaian descent easily gets bored and does not hold back from showing it when he does. He normally switches clubs when boredom strikes, gets revived and dishes out some more headlines, both on and off the pitch. The football fraternity is not actually the same without him, his carefree attitude excites more than it pisses off. After a rather barren spell at Liverpool, where he scored only once in 16 matches played over two years, Mario left for Nice and started firing again, with 33 goals and counting to his name in only 51 appearances. He re-introduced the form that saw become the favoured black sheep at Inter Milan and Manchester City, even winning the champions league at the former club.
Having managed only 9 appearances so far in the French Ligue 1 season, sandwiched by moments such as those where he trained alone or missed out on quite a number of other things, Vieira has given the forward the green light to decide on his future even handing him extra few days to make the decision. His contract runs out at the end of the season in May 2019 and Mario will have to choose between staying or getting a new challenge.
One thing is for sure, whether he stays or leaves, Mario will not be in the shadows for long. Like old times, he is bound to come back stronger in the year and give us a lot to ponder and cherish, both great and not so great stuff.