Manchester City: Why the Blues Will Be a Better Team Without Mario Balotelli
The transfer ends one of the most curious, frustrating periods in Manchester City Football Club's history.
While Super Mario's extrovert escapades lived up to his name off the pitch, his performances for Roberto Mancini's side often failed to meet his superhero billing.
Some fans will miss him, others not so much.
Here are five reasons his departure will make City a better team.
More Playing Time for More Productive Players
Mario Balotelli may end up proving a resounding success at new club AC Milan, but that doesn't mean his time in Manchester wasn't doomed to failure.
If he does succeed in Italy, it will only highlight how underwhelming his performances were for City, and how little effort he put into so many of his performances.
To paraphrase a quote from The Departed, truly great footballers aren't a product of their environment. their environment is a product of them.
Without Balotelli, who struck only once in 14 Premier League appearances this season, the more productive Edin Dzeko (11 in 22 League appearances) should get added playing time.
The transfer should also free up space for Mancini to bring in another player in the next transfer window should he feel the need to.
Fewer Distractions off the Pitch
To describe Mario Balotelli's behaviour at City as unprofessional would be a bit of an understatement.
We may have laughed at the Italian's antics at the time, but for his teammates, I'm sure they only served as a distraction from footballing matters.
Rather than focusing on the weekend's game, players would have spent the midweek training sessions asking "what's Mario been up to this time?"
Off the pitch, the striker's departure should see a great deal of discipline and purpose return to the squad who should no longer have to worry about one of their own teammates getting into fisticuffs with manager Roberto Mancini.
Better Discipline on the Pitch
One thing the Blues certainly won't miss from Super Mario is his consistent lack of discipline during games.
While playing for Roberto Mancini's side, the Italian picked up 22 yellow cards and four red cards in only two-and-a-half seasons.
His petty squabbling with Alexsandar Kolarov over who should take a free-kick in a 3-3 draw with Sunderland cast the club in a terrible light.
Balotelli was even fined two weeks' wages by City in December last year for his repeatedly poor discipline.
You can breathe easy now, Roberto Mancini, he's finally gone.
The Italian boss has been driven half-insane by Mario Balotelli over the past couple of years, the latter's behaviour uncontrollable even for the experienced Mancini.
Not for the first time, tensions came to a boil in a training session last month, as a dispute turned physical over a particularly nasty tackle Balotelli had supposedly committed on Scott Sinclair (via Daily Mail).
When he wasn't satisfied with his player's performance or effort, Mancini could be seen engaging in dramatic histrionics on the sideline, expressing his pure frustration with the striker in a typically Italian manner.
But with the two now parted, the manager can start worrying about catching Manchester United in the league, rather than how to deal with one of his slightly disturbed players—one he simply couldn't trust.
A More Serious Approach to Football
Don't get me wrong, a good sense of humour is always welcome in football. We need to be able to step back from time to time to appreciate that it is just a game.
But Balotelli's antics took this concept over and beyond the line to the point where the image and perception of Manchester City Football Club was in severe danger of ruin.
Carlos Tevez's past flaws can also be highlighted in the same way. More of a united, dedicated front needs to be presented to fans and the media alike, egos be damned.
With Mario gone and Tevez back on the straight and narrow, Mancini's side can refocus and re-energise in their attempts to defend their Premier League title.
2013 could be a make-or-break year for the Blues.
How do you think Balotelli's exit will affect the club? Was his time at City always doomed to failure?