Mario Balotelli Now Training With Fourth-Division Semi-Pro Team In Italy
Mario Balotelli is currently training with a fourth-division, semi-professional side in Italy after being let go by Brescia in the summer.
The 30-year-old former Manchester City, Inter Milan and Liverpool striker is now without a club and is making use of the facilities at Franciacorta to keep fit. The team play in the semi-pro Serie D Girone B league.
Even if temporary, it's a massive fall for a player who was playing in Serie A last season and Ligue 1 the year before that. But the mercurial Italian forward has frustrated a series of teams.
Mario Balotelli, ex Inter de Milán, Milán, Liverpool, Manchester City, entrena hoy día con un equipo semi profesional de cuarta división en Italia, el Franciacorta Football Club.- Alejandro Munévar (@alejomunevar) November 6, 2020
Desde su salida del Brescia no recibe ofertas. pic.twitter.com/bMrPSDwNGC
Ever since leaving Man City, where he memorably helped win Roberto Mancini's side the Premier League title, Balotelli has only really been successful at French side Nice. But he left France in 2019 and his one-year spell at Brescia ended in relegation and acrimony with the player reportedly turned away from training.
Plenty of professional footballers have trained with a local club to stay fit, of course.
But it says a lot that a player who won the 2010 Golden Boy award, given to the best young player in Europe, apparently couldn't find a suitable club to employ him for the start of the 2020/21 season.
This is a striker who was playing, and scoring, for Italy two years ago. But that memorable Euro 2012 semi-final double against Germany - when he looked on his way to becoming one of the world's top players - seems a long eight years ago.
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The Franciacorta sporting director is a friend of Balotelli, hence the link-up. Although we're struggling to imagine the faces of the semi-pro players who might pull pints or drive cabs as a day job (no shame in that) suddenly being confronted with a Champions League winner in training.
Balotelli has been linked with a move back to England, where he had success with City (if not Liverpool). Watford were reportedly interested in signing the wayward striker, but no move has yet taken place.
Let's hope that Mr 'Why Always Me' finds a full-time club again soon. He'll likely never quite fulfil the potential of his early years. But he has dealt with a lot in his time, from racial abuse to upheaval in his family life.
Balotelli surely still has more to give the game than jogging around a Serie D training pitch. Here's hoping the next story in his life is the big comeback one.
Featured image credit: PA Images
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