Manchester City: Why the Premier League Will Miss Mario Balotelli
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The 22-year-old arrived in Manchester with a reputation for controversy after his time at the San Siro Stadium. He will leave the Premier League with that reputation firmly intact.
Balotelli has been a Godsend for journalists and supporters across the country, an almost tragi-comic figure, comprising fabulous ability and petulant outbursts in equal measure.
Here we look back at reasons why the Premier League will be a duller place without Balotelli.
Ability and Confidence
Balotelli's goal against Norwich last season epitomised his talent.
Mario Balotelli has all the attributes required for a world-class striker: pace, power and agility.
Balotelli has scored some wonderful strikes during his time with City, but the goal featured here against Norwich City in the Premier League last season was among his best.
The forward's strike was blocked by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, but Balotelli followed the arc of the ball and waited for its descent. Then he promptly knocked it over the line with his shoulder.
No celebration followed, merely a shrug. It was a moment unlike any other in the Premier League.
The Noel Gallagher Interview
Noel Gallagher's interview with Balotelli was a brilliant piece of football coverage.
BBC Sport deserve a huge amount for credit for their decision to have former Oasis guitarist and singer Noel Gallagher interview Balotelli in March 2012.
Gallagher, no stranger to controversy himself, is a lifetime Manchester City supporter and asked questions of the Italian in the manner of any fan.
The musician's description of Balotelli as "a poster boy for naughty children" was just one of the highlights in one of the best interviews conducted in Premier League history as he asked questions all supporters were genuinely interested in.
Balotelli's Relationship with Roberto Mancini
Balotelli and Mancini clashed after the striker's failed backheel against LA Galaxy.
Roberto Mancini has brought success to Manchester City since replacing Mark Hughes as manager of the club in December 2009. But the former Inter Milan coach also brought his "wayward son" in the shape of Balotelli.
Mancini has continually backed the young striker throughout his misdemeanours and controversies at City, and the fates of Balotelli and his manager seem to be intertwined.
Balotelli was lambasted for his dismissal at Arsenal in April, which cost City badly in the race for the Premier League title. But Mancini kept faith and brought him off the bench with City trailing 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers on the final day of last season.
However, Mancini and Balotelli were involved in a training-ground altercation as Sky Sports reported early this year, an incident which may have proved to be the last straw for the City manager.
One incident which sums up the father-son nature of their relationship is the reaction of both men when Mancini withdrew Balotelli from the preseason friendly with LA Galaxy: The angry father menacingly followed the petulant son down the touchline.
Balotelli scored twice as City beat United 6-1 in October 2011.
However, if there is one item of clothing which Balotelli has turned iconic, it is the T-shirt. The Italian left his mark on rivals Manchester United last season with two goals in the 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2011.
However, when Balotelli lifted his shirt to reveal a vest bearing the legend 'Why always me?', a new fashion statement was born.
Fireworks On and Off the Pitch
Joe Hart's reaction to Balotelli's dismissal at Arsenal last season left nothing to the imagination.
The Italian and friends had been playing with fireworks inside the player's bathroom but had to call the fire brigade when things got out of control.
But Balotelli has produced some on-field fireworks to match that display with some notorious dismissals during his Premier League career.
Last season alone, the forward was sent off at Liverpool in November, received a three-match retrospective ban for stamping on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker and then lost the plot with two bookable challenges on Bacary Sagna as City lost 1-0 at Arsenal.
Do you have a favourite Balotelli moment? Let us know below.