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When will City fans lose patience with their young star?

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Mario Balotelli's red against Dynamo Kiev sent Manchester City crashing out the Europa LeagueI’m glad that Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli exists – if nothing else he is a fantastic source of entertainment. Whether it’s his inability to dress himself, his allergy to Russian grass or his dart-throwing antics, Balotelli is a headline making machine. Whilst much of this has been harmless, there have been occasions where his actions and temperament have cost City big – just look no further than their exit from the Europa League thanks to his needless red card against Dynamo Kiev. Despite all his ability, there has to come a stage whereby Manchester City fans realise that enough is enough and send the Italian packing. Have we reached that breaking point yet? Should Balotelli do a 180 (One-Hundred-and-Eighty!) and walk out of the club?

God only knows what would happen were you to get Ashley Cole and Mario Balotelli together in the same room.

The fact is, football, unlike most other sports you could care to name, does not require those who play it to be clever, intelligent or even thoughtful human beings. For a team to win, even at the top level, it merely requires that they be well-marshalled, know their roles and have the ability to perform the tasks laid down to them by their manager.

On an unrelated note, do any of you remember how David Beckham responded when he was asked in an interview if he considered himself a “volatile player”? His response: “Well, I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side.”

Unlike Tennis, Golf, Rugby and Cricket, you can get along just fine in the Premier League without having much between your ears. Let me clarify some of these comments – intelligence isn’t without its merit on the football field, but what’s of real value is ‘footballing nous’ – knowing what to do in any given situation. It’s possible to be ‘intelligent’ on the pitch, whilst not being so off it. Let’s not name any names.

I have no idea how intelligent Balotelli is, though I know for a fact that he can speak three languages fluently at the age of 20. Unfortunately, his behaviour paints a rather unfriendly picture. Perhaps it’s not intelligence that’s lacking, but common sense. Can City afford to hold onto Balotelli when he’s clearly such a nuisance?

Better managers than Roberto Mancini have attempted to coax the best out of Mario Balotelli, without success. Jose Mourinho described Balotelli as “unmanageable” at Inter Milan. Despite his ability, I can’t help but feel that City would be better off without his disruptive influence. I know Manchester City fans are defensive of their prodigious youngster, but I have to wonder – exactly what would it take for Mario Balotelli to finally cross the line? When would enough be enough?

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