• OPINION: Balotelli the life and soul of Milan in Juve defeat

    OPINION: Balotelli the life and soul of Milan in Juve defeat

    Though Milan would lose last night's derby with Juventus 2-1, Rossoneri Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic got at least one call right: his choice of Mario Balotelli to flank striker Carlos Bacca paid off when the former set up Alex for Milan's opener.

    The Italian international's performance last night was sensational. The life and soul of AC Milan, Balotelli almost provoked regret in some, the regret that such a star can't shine on a regular basis. 

    Initially lackadaisical in defence, Super Mario turned on the jets on fourteen minutes, forcing Gianluigi Buffon into making a difficult save on a free kick. 

    From there on in, Balotelli was everywhere, stealing the ball from Alex Sandro, earning the corner from where he provided Alex with the assist for the opener. Even Juventus' equaliser didn't discourage Super Mario, who did everything to get back in the goals, whether it was from a fierce strike from outside the box which almost deflected the bar, the same woodwork which would later deny him the joy of his first Serie A goal since September.

    He also went for the kitchen sink approach, cheekily deflecting the ball into the goal with his hand, a violation spotted by the referee.

    For once, there was no controversy about his contribution to the Milan cause, which makes the fans' negative response so galling: Mario came came off exhausted, having done everything he could. This didn't dampen his mood for long, the Azzurri star even joking with some Bianconeri that Lady Luck had smiled on them that evening. 
    So, where do we go from here? Balotelli has a chance, the chance to prove that he can finally defeat his chronic inconsistency, the Bowser to his Mario. 

    With six games left and a Coppa Italia final against Juventus, Balo can establish himself as Carlos Bacca's ideal foil up front. As Mihajlovic, Adriano Galliani and agent Mino Raiola have often said, it all depends on Mario's feet... and what is inside his head.

    Milan now await him without any preconceived notions, unlike some fans, who have yet to realize that without him, the Rossoneri may not have made last night's score so competitive. 

    Federico Albrizio (@Albri_Fede90), translated by Edo Dalmonte (@EdoDalmonte)

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