A few days ago, Roberto Mancini was hailing Mario Balotelli as the best striker Italy has to offer. But in typical Balotelli style, it didn’t take long for the praise to morph into criticism due to the player’s infamous immaturity.
This weekend, the Manchester City boss fined Balotelli the maximum allowable penalty (roughly $400,000 or two weeks’ wages) for breaking curfew.
A photograph was taken of Balotelli leaving a Liverpool strip club at 2:45 a.m. on a Friday night, less than 12 hours before City’s game against Bolton. Mancini quizzed Balotelli about the photo and must not have liked the explanation: “I read about the late night buffet in Paul McCartney’s autobiography.”
Mancini’s advice to his petulant striker – get married. Mancini believes the only way to curb Balotelli’s wild streak is to settle down with Mrs. Right, rather than Miss Right Now.
“It could be that marriage would help him in that respect. That could be the answer, because I am sure he understands that he has made a mistake. Mario is like this, but there is nothing we can do if he does not eventually realize he cannot keep doing this.
It seems anything can happen with him at any moment. He is his own worst enemy and it is 100 percent that he should have learned by now. When you are a professional, you should know you cannot stay out until two o’clock in the morning, so close to a game.
He needs to understand this. Now he is young, but at 25 or 26 it will be different. If you do not have a good private life then, you will not be able to play at the top level.
Sometimes I feel a bit let down. These things will happen at his age, but after 100 times, I think he should understand what is going on around him.
I am very kind with him but, like all the players, he knows he has to behave well to stay in the team. He was on the bench for fix or six times at the start of the season because his behavior was not good. I think he is just immature, but he will have to pay for it.
Do I think he’s more trouble that he’s worth? No. I have a lot of patience with him. Probably he gets bored quickly. There is no malice. He just doesn’t think that there is a game in two days, that players are away on international duty and that we prepare for him to be the main striker because he would be freshest. He doesn’t think along those lines, but this has to change.”
Come on skipper, marriage at 21-years old? Chances are Balotelli will owe a lot more in divorce settlements than the $400,000 fine he was just hit with. But if Super Mario is looking for a wife, and no I don’t think Princess Peach is available, his current conquest is certainly a good place to start.
Balotelli is dating model Raffaella Fico, who certainly qualifies as a WAG. And apparently, Raffaella has warmed the icy Balotelli, who celebrates goals by arrogantly not celebrating. “I scored. So what. I’m not surprised. You shouldn’t be either.”
However, after scoring against Blackburn Feb. 25, Balotelli displayed his love for the Italian supermodel by revealing a T-Shirt underneath his jersey that read, “Raffaella Ti Amo.” Translation: Rafaella, I love you.” Easy to see why.
Now marriage isn’t always the answer. Look at what happened to Chuck Finley and Tawny Kitaen. And it certainly didn’t slow Roger Dorn’s philandering.
But Mancini thinks it’s worth a try. Nothing else has seemed to work so far. And for the record, Mancini has been married for roughly 20 years to his wife, Federica, and has three kids.
Want to know more about Mario and Raffaella’s domestic life together, the hard-hitting British tabloids have you covered. Here’s a November interview with Ms. Fico about how she envisions herself in the same mold as Victoria Beckham.