x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mario Balotelli's misdemeanours make him a liability

The case against Balotelli going to a major championship is simple and purely practical. He is a liability. Audio interviews

Mario Balotelli was sent off against Arsenal.
Mario Balotelli was sent off against Arsenal.

Mario Balotelli's latest red card and uncontrolled foul play during Manchester City's defeat at Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday has become an issue not only to his English employers but also for the country he represents.

It is especially notable that this comes less than two months ahead of the European Championships, and indeed the opening of the next transfer window.

If, as seems likely, City feel inclined to sell the serially-suspended striker, AC Milan and Inter Milan both look candidates for a swoop. The Italian clubs may be judging, perhaps unwisely, that if he is in his home country, Balotelli will be more easily tamed and he might grow up.

For Cesare Prandelli, Italy's head coach, though, belief in Balotelli's ability to stay calm in a different environment must be resisted.

Prandelli, famously, has a code of ethics which prevents him selecting players who are carrying domestic bans or committing bad misdemeanours with their clubs at the times of national squad gatherings.

In this case, Prandelli need not bother referring to it. However short of front-line strikers Italy seem, the case against Balotelli going to a major championship is simple and purely practical.

He is a liability, one who can and does cost his teams the chance of success. Prandelli should leave him at home, wherever that may be, come June.

sports@thenational.ae

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