Mario Balotelli's Tears with AC Milan Are a Measure of Maturing Striker

Matteo BonettiContributor IFebruary 9, 2014

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli stands during the Italian Cup soccer match between AC Milan and Udinese at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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It's hard to remember the last time a few tears made so many headlines all over the world. But then again, what could we expect from the player that was once named by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Balotelli's sadness during Napoli match
Balotelli's sadness during Napoli matchGiuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli's emotions were on display for everyone to see shortly after he was yanked in the second half of Milan's 3-1 away loss to Napoli over the weekend.

Coach Clarence Seedorf did something that we almost never saw during the failed Massimiliano Allegri era—he took out his star striker after a not-so-super performance, and the striker broke down shortly after as he was slumped on the end of Milan's bench.

The Coach spoke to Gazzetta dell Sport reporters about the matter briefly after the match:

Balotelli is living a very difficult and particular moment right now, similar to some I've had myself. This isn't the first time I've seen a player cry.

The particular moment mentioned above is referring to a situation in Balotelli's life that was unearthed last week when he found out that he was in fact the Father of Pia, a daughter that was born to one of his ex-girlfriends Raffaella Fico.

Whether or not Balotelli was emotional because he wanted to dedicate a goal in the honor of his daughter is up for debate, as many have speculated on the reasoning behind Balotelli's break down.

It's very uncharacteristic by his terms, as his usually rough-and-tough external demeanor seems to blanket his inner vulnerability.

This isn't an attempt to break down his personality in psychological terms, but it does hint at a player who might be finally turning the corner and maturing before our very eyes.

Clearly, Milan's poor result was a factor, and it's now blatantly obvious how much their lackluster play is bothering Balotelli.

He has been the victim of vitriol and bitter racism numerous times in the past throughout Italy, but it must be stressed that there was absolutely no racist behavior at the San Paolo, as a few reporters who were at the match could confirm.


There haven't been any racist chants for Balotelli tonight. Only usual full whistling against strongest player. Please stop this nonsense

— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) February 8, 2014



Balotelli has been plagued by a string of inconsistent performances this season, as he hasn't been able to lead the line with the constant goal scoring that he provided right away after being signed from Manchester City.

With petulant outbursts somewhat held in check, it's now time for the 23-year-old to show exactly what he can do on a consistent basis. The frustration fans have is normal since they know just how skillful he is.

Balotelli must harness this emotion into an effective manner on the pitch and bring the Super back to his nickname on a weekly basis.