Why always you As Balotelli packs his bags, Sportsmail looks back at his highlights… and not many are on the pitch
, where he
single-handedly dumped Spain's biggest rivals out, the Italian has shown
little to justify top billing.
When one thinks back through the
three years Balotelli has dominated the news agenda in the Premier
League, skills, goals or match-winning contributions are a mere footnote
to the training ground fights, lurid tabloid tales, silly hats, red
cards and disregard for the rules. The only explosive thing about this
guy were the pyrotechnics he let off in the bathroom of his home.
Bust-up: Balotelli was involved in a furious shoving match with Roberto Mancini at training earlier this month
Even City's 6-1 demolition of
Manchester United – an iconic scoreline of 20 years in the Premier
League – isn't remembered by the seismic shift it represented in the
football landscape, but for the 'look at me' celebration of City's main
attraction. Why always you, Mario
This Premier League season, Balotelli
has scored one goal in 14 appearances, and been deemed worthy of 90
minutes just once. He's shooting accuracy is more wayward than at any
point in his City career, his chance conversion rate is SEVEN times
worse than last season, and his link-up with team-mates is pitiful.
Rather than hurtling towards his peak years, the 22-year-old is
Down to a T: Balotelli celebrates scoring his first goal at Old Trafford in October 2011 (left)
Balotelli smoking a cigarette and in his famous chicken hat
He's never been a team player – he
has one assist in 54 appearances – and in a sqaud of questionable
temperament, the livewire was the spark that all too often unsettled
When he did play, City were
considerably worse off. Three red cards – one of which at Anfield came
about after he collected two yellow cards in 18 second-half minutes as a
substitute – came while the champions posted a win ratio with him of 59
per cent compared with 73 per cent without.
The fire brigade were called to Balotelli's Cheshire home after he set off fireworks in the bathroom
Balotelli fronted a fireworks campaign after the incident in his bathroom
Even when he was worthy of praise,
Balotelli poisoned a journalist's pen for himself. His first goal, in
November 2010 against West Brom, was followed later in the match by a
red card for kicking out at Youssouf Mulumbu.
Chance after chance he got, though.
Mancini's patience tested to the very limit, but the man who had given
the teenager his first big chance persevered. He was repaid with an
attitude that, frankly, stunk.
Only Manchester's photographers, kept
in work as they have been by Balotelli, can possibly see his deflection
home to be a bad thing. Good riddance.
Balotelli was involved in a car crash in Manchester just weeks after signing for City in August 2010
In a tangle: The Italian struggled to put his bib on before a Europa League clash with Dynamo Kiev
MEANWHILE, ON THE PITCH…
Up and down: In his third Premier League game for City, Balotelli scored his first two goals for the club before getting sent off for a challenge on West Brom's Youssouf Mulumbu in November 2010
Again: The volatile Italian was sent off in a 1-1 draw at Anfield a year later
Nasty: Balotelli was given a retrospective four-game ban for this stamp on Scott Parker in January 2012
Repeat: Balotelli's second red card of City's title-winning season, and his fourth in all competitions since joining the club, came at the Emirates for this challenge on Alex Song in April 2012
VIDEO: Balotelli's backheel miss in a friendly against LA Galaxy
Stats on his Premier League record provided by OPTA SPORTS