Examples of Dzeko and Torres show that money doesn’t necessarily buy success in football’s transfer market lottery.
|Edin Dzeko has words with Balotelli after the Italian’s failed trick shot angered fans and his manager [AFP]|
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli paid the price for attempting to score with a showboating trick shot against the LA Galaxy when he was immediately withdrawn from Sunday’s friendly by manager Roberto Mancini after just 30 minutes.
The controversial Italian, who scored the first goal of the match from the penalty spot, attempted a pirouette and backheel that rolled harmlessly wide after he was put clean through with only the goalkeeper to beat.
A furious Mancini immediately signalled for substitute James Milner to replace Balotelli, who confronted the coach before taking his seat on the bench, and hurling a water bottle onto the pitch in anger amid boos from the crowd.
“I think that we need to always be professional, always serious and for me in that case, Mario wasn’t and for this I changed him,” Mancini told reporters.
“To take him off the pitch after 30 minutes is punishment enough for him. In football, you should be serious always. If you have a chance to score, you score.
“For me, it’s finished now. I hope that he learns an important lesson.
“I don’t think its easy to leave the pitch after 30 minutes, but if one player has good behaviour, plays for the team, plays strong, plays serious… they can stay on the pitch for 90 minutes. If not, they can come and sit with me on the bench.”
The volatile Balotelli has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons including multiple red cards and incidents off the field during his first season with Manchester City.
His latest misdemeanour is reminiscent of UAE player Theyab Awana, whose backheeled spot kick against Lebanon last week was watched by millions on YouTube but attracted negative headlines after accusations he had displayed a lack of respect.
Awana, who was sent on as a replacement, was also withdrawn immediately after he cheekily scored from the spot late on in
the 7-2 friendly win.
“Everybody’s seen it, it wasn’t a great action and the coach took a decision to take him off. That’s a decision that’s been made and that’s a statement that the group is behind him,” City midfielder Nigel de Jong said.
“If you get in front of the goal you have to score. He knows that as well. I hope he learns from this moment and that we continue to be stronger as a group.”
City went on to win on penalties after the match ended 1-1 in normal time.