Mario Balotelli and the 5 Biggest Enigmas of World Football
Some call them "Genius."
Some call them "Certifiable."
Listed here are the five biggest contradictions in World Football today.
Whether it's a footballer whose form can never be predicted, or a footballer whose attitude can never be relied upon, one thing's for certain:
These guys are always able to stir up a debate.
What hasn't been said about this man?
(Although I use the word "man" liberally.)
It's been quite a year for Super Mario, here's a brief poem on his hectic year:
Crashed his car, allergic to grass, swore on T.V., threw some darts,
Trouble with bib, got sent off, crashed a prison, stamped on Scott
Slept with hooker, again sent off, again crashed car, fought with Kolarov
Let off fireworks, fought with Mancini, crashed a press conference, "Why always me?"
On the pitch he's scored 17 goals...but who cares about that?
This man's talent is truly undeniable.
But then again, so is his temper, and world-class ability to court controversy.
The enigmatic Swede has played for some of the very best teams in the world: Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and his current team, AC Milan.
He's also managed to make plenty of enemies at each, Van der Vaart, Guardiola and Onyewu being the most high profile.
He can be petty, short-tempered and volatile, but is also capable of playing some of the most sublime football on the planet.
Don't ever change, Zlatan.
Unlike the previous two players on the list, Dimitar Berbatov is less of an unstable personality off the pitch.
He instead earns enigmatic status for his ability to divide fans with his unique style of football on the pitch.
It seems for every compliment, there's a criticism.
Some say "languid," some say "lazy."
Some say "calm," some say "indifferent."
In the writer's opinion, it is unfortunate that the talented Berbatov was never unable to adapt to the Manchester United way of playing.
Or maybe, United were never able to adapt to him.
Carlos Tevez plays when he wants.
It's always nice when someone can go on a four-month holiday and return to the same job he abandoned.
But then, when you're as talented as Carlos is, perhaps certain allowances can be made.
The second Manchester City player on the list, Tevez has the ability to be absolutely devastating on his day.
Just don't expect any tears from the fans when he completes his expected move out of Manchester this summer.
Don't expect him to come back next time, either.
I wonder if Fernando believes in Voodoo?
It's possible that there's a less fantastic reason for Fernando Torres' shocking drop in form, but personally, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a disgruntled Liverpool fan dabbling in witchcraft somewhere near the Mersey.
One of the Premier League's most prolific strikers for three and a half years, Torres has since manage to score only four goals in 41 league appearances since joining Chelsea.
That's one goal for every £12.5 million spent.
But for all of his recent troubles, fans will never forget his achievements at Atletico Madrid as well as Liverpool, and will continue to faithfully hope that the Torres of old will one day return.