Mario Balotelli has perhaps had the most confounding career of any currently active football player. Still just 25, the Italian striker has played for five different soccer clubs since starting his senior career back in 2006. A youth star at Lumezzane, Balotelli has spent most of the past decade ping-ponging back and forth between the English Premier League and the Serie A division in his native Italy. Now as Mario Balotelli returns to AC Milan we ask is this fresh start full of potential greatness?
Balotelli's Troubled Career
From 2007 to 2010, he was a promising young presence at Internazionale, scoring 28 goals across 86 overall appearances. For the 2010 2011 campaign, he transferred to Manchester City on a €21.8 million signing, going on to play two and a half seasons, make 80 appearances, and score 30 goals for the club. Midway through the 2012 2013 season, he transferred back to Milan-this time to play for Inter's crosstown rivals, AC Milan-and quickly made a mark, scoring 12 goals in the 13 games he played for the football club during the back half of the campaign.
Balotelli would ultimately score 30 goals in just a season and a half at AC Milan, before moving back to England on a £16 million transfer to Liverpool just last season. But the move was disastrous, with Mario making just 16 appearances in Liverpool's 2014 2015 Premier League campaign, and scoring only one goal along the way. (He added 12 more caps and three more goals in cup and continental play, but was still seen as a major disappointment by football fans in Liverpool.)
Add Balotelli's famously fiery temper and his spotted disciplinary record, not to mention his continued struggles against racism in the football world, and it's clear that this young soccer star has not yet lived up to his potential. The fact that he has not yet found a consistent home for his talent has not helped his troubles.
Coming Home: Balotelli's Return to AC Milan
With the start of the 2015 2016 soccer season, though, it's possible that Mario Balotelli has finally found the place where he belongs. With Liverpool bringing in a laundry list of new talent over the summer, the Reds simply didn't have much space for Mario anymore-not the least because fans at Anfield are so bitter about his poor performance for the club last season. The result? On August 27th, Liverpool finalized a deal to send Balotelli back to AC Milan on a season-long loan deal.
The loan already seems to be working in favor of all parties. In his first game back at AC Milan-a September 3rd club friendly against Mantova FC-Balotelli scored a terrific 25-yard goal just three minutes into regulation to give the Red and Blacks an early lead. Later, he provided an assist in the 37-minute goal by Andrea Poli. Milan won that game 3-2-a positive restart for the relationship between Balotelli, the club, and their fans.
A Mutually Beneficial Move
It really does look like Balotelli returning to San Siro and donning the AC Milan home shirt 2015 2016 could prove beneficial to both the club and the player. The Red and Blacks haven't had a good season since 2012 2013-the year they signed Balotelli the first time. That season, AC Milan finished third in the Italian Serie A.
The next season, Balotelli put forth a great performance-he led the club with 18 goals overall-but the injury of key forward Stephen El Shaaraway, as well as a number of other factors, resulted in a drop to eighth place for AC Milan. 2014 2015 only saw the soccer club continue their decline, dropping to 10th place and clearly missing the dynamic talent of Balotelli.
Now, with Mario and Milan reunited, will both manage to turn 2015 2016 into a successful rebuilding year? Only time will tell, but you can root for the team today, with a new AC Milan shirt 2015 2016 from Soccer Box! Use the coupon code "BLOG2015" to save 12.5% on the jersey, or on any other football merchandise that catches your eye in our store!