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Suarez vs Ballotelli...why always them?

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1Suarez vs Ballotelli...why always them? Empty Suarez vs Ballotelli...why always them? on 22nd August 2014, 10:09 am


After selling one of the most controversial
players in the history of English football for
£75m, you could forgive the powers-that-be at
Liverpool for playing it safe for a while.
Instead, the Reds are seeking to replace Luis
Suarez with Mario Balotelli - a man once dubbed
"unmanageable" by Jose Mourinho who tried to do
just that when they were at Inter Milan together.
Balotelli, 24, enjoyed cult status during his three-
year spell at Manchester City and appears to be on
his way back to England in a £16m move after only
one full season at AC Milan, the club he supported
as a boy.
But other than a mutual love of scoring goals, and
a regular habit of making the front as well as the
back pages, what else do the strikers share? And
what makes them stand apart from each other?
The glories
Just shy of £150m has been cumulatively spent on
their talents already, so despite a list of
misdemeanours as long as the Anfield touchline, it
does not take a genius to see that football's in-the-
know managers see something different in this
colourful pair.
Balotelli's single Champions League success at
Inter was blighted as Mourinho cast him aside for
a lack of effort in training, but the mercurial Italian
left the San Siro in 2010 with three league medals
stashed in his expensive luggage.
He dangled a leg at a loose ball on the final day of
the 2011-12 campaign for his only assist in 54
league games at Manchester City, though it proved
decisive as Sergio Aguero lashed City to the title -
Balotelli's fourth league win by the time he turned
Despite boasting a glittering trophy haul to match
the bling of his jewellery, on an individual level,
Balotelli is unable to match Suarez, who at 27, is
three years his senior.
The Uruguayan shared the European Golden Shoe
award - claimed by the continent's top scorer -
with Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14 and was voted
player of the year by both his fellow professionals
and the Football Writers' Association.
A season which included three hat-tricks and 31
league goals - despite missing six games at the
start of the season through suspension -
eventually tempted Barcelona into shelling out
£75m for his services - despite that well-publicised
biting incident at the World Cup.
European Golden Shoe Award
Season Winner Goals
2009-10 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 34
2010-11 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 40
2011-12 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 50
2012-13 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 46
2013-14 Luis Suarez (Liverpool) and
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 31
Mario vs Luis
After arriving alongside Andy Carroll to fill the void
left by Chelsea-bound Fernando Torres at
Liverpool in January 2011, Suarez took 16 minutes
to notch a debut goal from the bench. It was a sign
of things to come.
A further 68 followed in the league, complemented
by 23 assists, but for all of his headline-grabbing
contribution and average of a staggering 0.63 goals
per game, Suarez's impact on Liverpool's win ratio
is negative.
The Reds won 61% of their 18 matches without
him in the side, but only 48% when he was
Purely on a statistical level, Balotelli also hindered
Manchester City during his time in the Premier
League. His presence saw City win in 59% of their
matches compared to 70% when he played no
The man who made his debut in Italy's third tier at
just 15 has also been sent off for club or country in
each of the last five seasons.
"Obviously he has that baggage," former Liverpool
midfielder Jimmy Case told BBC Sport. "But I
always want a side to have one player who their
opponents will know is capable of anything, no
matter how well prepared they are."
Two strikers, two action-packed spells in
Stat Balotelli (2010 -
2013) Suarez (2011 -
played 54 110
Goals 20 69
Goals per
game 0.37 0.63
Assists 1 23
Penalties 5 0
Controversy aplenty
At 15, Suarez head-butted a referee while playing
for his first club - Nacional - in Uruguay. It was a
first of many blemishes on his CV.
A bite for Ajax, the racial abuse of a player and a
bite at Liverpool, and a match-saving hand-ball
and bite for Uruguay are just some of what has
Throw in an obscene gesture made to Fulham
supporters and a taunting dive when celebrating in
front of Everton manager David Moyes in 2012 and
his charge sheet is prolific.
The complex and
nature of both
strikers lends
itself to
headlines and
magazine articles
Balotelli, though no angel, prefers to keep his
crime petty by comparison. He indeed described
himself as shy to Oasis star Noel Gallagher in a
BBC interview in 2012.
Shy may be downplaying it several levels, but an
image of him pointing a shotgun down a camera
with the message: "a big kiss to all the haters", is as
uncomfortable as it has got for the Palermo-born
"I describe him as a box of fireworks," added Case.
"You put your hand in the box and will you get a
banger or something beautiful?
Setting off fireworks in his bathroom and throwing
a dart at a youth-team player featured during
Balotelli's time in Manchester, as did his decision
to back-heel an effort wide when through on goal
in a pre-season friendly against LA Galaxy.
City manager Roberto Mancini failed to see the
funny side and substituted his striker but, by and
large, Balotelli was viewed more as a pantomime
villain. Suarez, on the other hand, has earned
widespread condemnation after his many
Forgive me
Sorry is far from the hardest word for these
players, who have been the subject of many a
rushed-out press release by clubs clambering for
shelter from criticism.
After biting PSV Eindhoven's Ottman Bakkal in
2010, Suarez said he could only feel his heart
beating in the heat of the moment. "You are not
able to think about what you are going," he added.
And clarity of thought was again evasive when he
said he was "deeply sorry" for a similar bite attack
on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in 2013, before
extending his apology to "the entire football
family" when Italy's Giorgio Chiellini was next in
line for a bite at the 2014 World Cup.
Prolific Suarez...
Luis Suarez took 15 league matches to reach 20
goals in 2013-14, a new low for England's top
Balotelli, meanwhile, has tugged at the heartstrings
in the past, declaring his "love" for manager
Mancini when apologising for his crucial sending-
off in a defeat by Arsenal in 2012.
"You've got to hope the player matures," ex-
Liverpool full-back Stephen Warnock told BBC
Sport. "Balotelli's at a stage now where he must be
thinking 'I'm only going to get so many more
chances.' He will know this is a massive
opportunity to resurrect himself in England."
One man, many rumours
Heard the one about Balotelli being dressed as
Father Christmas and handing out money to the
homeless in Manchester city centre?
What about when he confronted a school bully on
behalf of a child in need? Or when he drove to a
women's prison in Italy for a look around?
And did he really explain why he had £5,000 in
cash with him to police by simply saying "because
I'm rich?"
It depends on who you ask, and whether you
believe what you read. But what is certain is that
crazy rumours follow Balotelli around far more
closely than any central defender.
Suarez, while explosive on the pitch, is more
sedate off it. Not once did he call into a school to
use the toilets as his potential Liverpool
replacement did in 2012.
"He was just walking round campus like he owned
the place and everyone was following him
around," said Xaverian College student Edaward
Tongues will be wagging on Merseyside. Mario is
on the loose.
The fans
The prospect of match-winning genius being
served up lends itself to forgiveness by many
football fans and Liverpool's supporters backed
Suarez during what the striker called "difficult"
Suarez cried like
some supporters
when Liverpool
let a three-goal
lead slip at
Crystal Palace on
their way to
missing out on a
first Premier
League title
Suarez thanked Kopites for their backing in an
open letter upon joining Barcelona, but this Jekyll
and Hyde character was a like not seen in the
English game since Eric Cantona in the 1990s.
Liverpool fans privately frowned upon the
distraction Suarez's behaviour drew, but revelled
in his brilliance and desire to win.
Tears in the stands at Selhurst Park when Liverpool
let a three-goal lead slip to Crystal Palace during
their title run in were indeed only shared by one
man on the turf - Suarez.
A player's appetite for success and willingness to
graft resonate deeply with fans of any club and
Balotelli is arguably yet to demonstrate similar will.
"When Balotelli came back to Italy there was
complete fever for him, he was loved," says Italian
football journalist Tancredi Palmeri. "But last year,
he became a bit of a scapegoat and the fans did
not get what they expected from him. As Milan
struggled, he was seen as their star and so the
finger was pointed.
"In the Champions League round-of-16 against
Atletico Madrid he produced a performance which
was viewed as one of the worst ever and it was the
final straw. Fans thought his attitude was lacking
and with this and the fact Milan needed money, a
move was seen as the best option."
A tough start
The adoration by their own fans and penchant for
sticky situations is not all Balotelli and Suarez
share as both faced challenges early on in their
Balotelli, the son of Ghanaian immigrants, was
placed into foster care and adopted by an Italian
family by the age of three, while Suarez, one of
seven brothers, grew up in poverty in his native
Honing his skills in Montevideo, Suarez earned
money as a street sweeper at the age of nine and
left for Dutch side Groningen by 19 to follow his
childhood sweetheart Sofia Balbi and her family to
Survival runs through the stories of both players in
their formative years, with Balotelli eventually
distancing himself from his birth parents.
The verdict
"Suarez is done and gone," added Case, who made
269 appearances for the Reds. "When I was there,
Kevin Keegan left and I had no idea how we would
get by but Kenny Dalglish came in. At Liverpool,
we've seen Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Michael
Owen, Fernando Torres - there is always someone
to pick up the mantle.
"Balotelli, at 24, is a superb talent and could be
there and a hero up to his 30s."
Longevity and consistency in the career of one so
volatile seems a distant hope, but Liverpool will
hope a maturing Balotelli, who hit 26 goals in 43
league appearances at AC Milan can be controlled
off the pitch and unleashed on it.
"You can't argue with the fact he is a world-class
player and Rodgers has unlocked potential before
- Daniel Sturridge had moved around a lot before
signing for the club," added 32-year-old Warnock,
who is now at Leeds United.
"If he gets the best out of him, Balotelli is
wonderful business, but the first thing Brendan
Rodgers will say is that Balotelli is not a direct
replacement for Suarez and the boy is his own
Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor told BBC
Sport: "Balotelli is a player who can produce
something from nothing, not quite to the level of
Suarez but capable of those key moments to win
games at the highest level.
"At City, the baggage outweighed what he did on
the pitch and his arrival is therefore not one of
excitement but more of uncertainty."
Questions to be answered then. Why always you
Mario? Why always you?

2Suarez vs Ballotelli...why always them? Empty Re: Suarez vs Ballotelli...why always them? on 22nd August 2014, 12:10 pm


Their wahala too much na

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