“He’s scored a goal, so what? He’s going to go and tell the coach he’s the best player. They’re down to ten men, all the Irish players are completely goosed and now he’s going to tell everyone he’s he best.” So Mick McCarthy greeted Mario Ballotelli’s goal for
Italy in their final group game against . Instead of focusing on the quality of the strike, he instead left little room for doubt about what he thinks of the striker. In the post-match analysis Alan Hansen acknowledged the “finish was great but not as good as Mick McCarthy’s commentary – that was sensational”. Let it not be said Hansen doesn’t earn his share of your licence fee. Ireland
You probably know that the focus of McCarthy and Hansen’s contempt was the fact Balotelli started to say something after the goal but his teammate Leonardo Bonucci thrust his hand over his mouth to stop him. While many of us might wish Bonucci could spend each episode of Match of the Day with his hand clasped tightly over Hansen’s mouth (just to stop him talking, not breathing – I’m not unreasonable) the reality is neither McCarthy nor Hansen knew what Balotelli was saying and thanks to Bonucci we still don’t but the BBC’s 'finest' were happy to sit in judgement and condemn Balotelli for supposedly directing his ire at his coach.
By last Thursday, once the reports of
England’s game against Ukraine were out of the way, it was on to the build up to their quarter-final and when talking about , the English Press focused their attention on one man. Matt Lawton wrote in the Daily Mail on the Friday, “Mario Balotelli’s efforts to lie low appear to have failed as he continues to dominate the Italian angle of the showdown with Italy ”. Mmm, I wonder who’s responsible for that, Matt? It’s not Mario, that’s for sure but you’d be forgiven for forgetting that England Italy would have another ten men on the pitch against . England
’s article was a picture of Balotelli lying down while his Italian team mates did press ups. There was no context (there rarely is) but we were told the “Floored genius” was “skiving”. Which is odd, because the day before Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror wrote about a training session for Lawton ’s strikers: “For some it was routine. Not for Mario Balotelli. The Italy striker lashed the ball past the keeper with a venom that seemed excessive for a relaxed training session.” So, let me get this straight, when Mario doesn’t engage in the press ups, he’s lazy but when he kicks a ball in a way subjectively deemed to be too hard it’s evidence of his “volatility” and “suspect temperament”? Or is it really just evidence of the tabloids’ tiresome over-analysis of one person? Manchester City
|Hansen says "shut your mouth"|