Whether you consider Mario Balotelli an immature champion with a touch of genius or a clown prince squandering his talents, the truth is the Premier League will be just a lttle poorer without him when he completes his £20 million move to Milan.
It does not matter where your allegiance lies, Ballotelli is box office and his antics on and off the field are guaranteed to entertain. The problem for Manchester City is that he is a maverick who can be a liability just as often as a matchwinner. And with the stakes so high for a club that boasts being the richest in the world, the powers that be at the Ethiad have decided he is no longer a gamble not worth taking.
Jose Mourinho, who worked with AC Milan-bound Balotelli at Inter Milan, famously called him “unmanageable” and described his time working with the Italian as a “comedy.”
Subject to a medical in Milan in the morning, the 22 year-old, who was signed by City for £24 million from Inter in 2010, has agreed a four-and-a-half year contract at the San Siro.
Reports in Italy suggest that Milan will pay £20 million plus bonuses for Balotelli, who will be taking a pay cut to move to the club he has supported since childhood.
The surprise is that Balotelli appears to have been unloaded against the will of manager Roberto Mancini, who has always nsisted he did not want to sell his young protege and only this month said he would give him a hundred chances after their training ground spat at Carrington.