Friday, 21 October 2011

Balotelli: "The real Mario is coming out now."

It seems the media is catching up with the idea that Mario may have actually turned a corner. I mentioned early last week that this may have been the case and his most recent interview (which can be found almost anywhere online) backs up what I was saying last week.  

"The real Mario is coming now and it isn't the same Mario as last year."

It's no secret that Mario's initial reaction in May was to think his first season in England had been "shit". Can I say that? But on reflection, given the circumstances it's wasn't quite that bad, although it wasn't great either.

"This year is going to be better, I hope.It has to be better. Last year, because of my injury, I couldn't play at the top but I train good now and I feel good and that's how it should be always.I'm getting better all the time. It's 4 in 4 now and I hope to god it's 5 in 5 on Sunday."

He's certainly taken his chances superbly so far and has silenced many of his critics with level headed displays and a greater work ethic than what we saw last season. This is one thing Balo feels is due to him feeling in great condition. Last season saw Mario sidelined several times due to injuries to his knee.

"With injury I wasn't sure of myself or my body. Like with tackles, I didn't do them because I wasn't sure about myself. This year I feel more free."

Mario has also taken it upon himself to change his circumstances. Last year he lived in a penthouse apartment in the City centre, a location that saw him in the spotlight every time he stepped out of the door.

"This is down to me; it's me that changed my life, I don't live in town anymore. I'm outside now so it's more quiet. I try to stay at home more. Maybe I'll stay in now with my family, my brother or my girlfriend. It's quieter now but also I'm growing up. Everything is getting better. If last year I missed home so much, maybe now I miss it a little less. I'm ok now, I'm good. I'm happy. The only problem in England is the weather."

The media attempted to stir up trouble between him and fans by stating that Mario didn't like Manchester and wanted to go back to Milan. What he actually said was that he missed his home and family in Brescia and didn't like living in the City centre. And who can blame him after all the bad press that created for him?

One thing that has remained a constant since arriving from Italy is Mancini's faith in the young Italian, something that hasn't been shared amongst all the City fans. Although admittedly there have always been a good number of fans who believed he could make it at City.

"With Mancini I feel very comfortable. I've known him a long time and he's a good manager. He believes in me, even when no one in England believed in me, he did. And he kept on believing. I want to do something important here with him."

Personally I find that comment both encouraging and a little embarrassing. Everyone knows how much Mario respects Mancini and how much flack Bobby has taken for sticking with Mario. But saying that he felt that absolutely no one in England believed in him apart from Mancini shows exactly what kind of damage the British media can do to a person's confidence and view of self worth.

Thankfully, as I just mentioned, there has always been a core of City fans who absolutely adore Mario for his eccentricity and ability, and the Balotelli song has got to be one of, if not the best terrace chant I've ever heard.

"I like it, it's funny. It's the best song I've had sung to me."

I personally think it has gone a long way to making Mario feel more at home at the club. A show of appreciation from the fans is bound to help any player, even one who is generally as confident of his own abilities like Mario usually is. The fact that he's a bit loony makes him fit in nicely, as lets face it, the majority of City fans are also crackers.


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