When asked what he wants in this latest commercial from Nike, Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli replies simply, “to be remembered.”
Off the pitch, Super Mario has certainly done enough to solidify his place amongst the clown princes of football.
But on the pitch he is as mercurial a talent as there’s ever been, with periodic flashes of strength and brilliance offset by silly fouls and squabbles with his own teammates and managers.
The upcoming European Championship gives Balotelli yet another chance to begin fulfilling his enormous potential and wipe the slate clean, at the very least in the eyes of Italians, with whom his relationship could kindly be referred to as “rocky”.
With that goal in mind, the new ad sees Mario trying out some iconic hairstyles before he takes the biggest stage in his career thus far.
Always good to see Balotelli being a good sport. No word yet on how many extras he threw darts at.
In all seriousness, this tournaments could be a real turning point in Balotelli’s career.
But it’s not a new look he’ll need, it’s a new attitude.
He took a good first step by reporting promptly to Italy’s pre-Euro camp, forgoing any lengthy celebrations with City teammates.
Balotelli should be the main focal point of Italy’s young (yes, young!) attack, but I’d actually love to see him paired with Antonio Cassano. Fantantonio has already proven he can get the best out of a big, temperamental strike partner with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan, and could play the same creative foil to Super Mario.
The Azzurri had a rock-solid if uninspiring qualifying campaign and Balotelli declares that he expects his side to be “the revelation of the tournament.”
And while he also says he’s staying in Manchester, the tournament is a chance for Balotelli to show himself off to potential buyers, and he has promised coach Cesare Prandelli he’ll be on his best behavior.
I might be one of the crazy few left who think he’ll still come good in a huge way someday, hopefully soon.
But the fact that at the end of the Nike spot he emerges, walking towards the camera with the same old hairdo and same old smirk does have me a little bit worried.