5 Feb 2013

'He's absolutely incredible' - Nicol hails controversial €22m 'nutcase'

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has never had a good word to say about Mario Balotelli. Like so many other ex-Reds, Nicol has constantly berated the controversial Italian over the last year, and a few weeks ago, he accused the Italian of 'hurting' Manchester City, and urged the club to sell him. Well, here's a novelty for you: only a few days after his Etihad exit, Nicol is now a confirmed member of the Balotelli fan-club.

Analysing AC Milan's 2-1 victory over Udinese on ESPN last night - a game in which much-maligned Italian scored two debut goals - Nicol seemingly forgot about his antipathy, and enthused:

"What a sensational day he had. Absolutely incredible. It only took him [Balotelli] thirty seconds to actually get a shot, and he hit the post.

"It’s amazing how fate works sometimes. Pazzini getting injured, and Balotelli’s in. He made a couple of mistakes during the game, but other than that, he was top notch".

Balotelli - labelled a 'nutcase' by Tommy Smith over the weekend - cooly slotted home a penalty in the 93rd minute of the game to hand Milan victory, and Nicol praised his calmness under pressure:

"Is there another guy on the planet who you'd rather take a penalty for over this guy, because for me there isn't. You just know he's going to score, and you know he'll make a mug of the goalkeeper"

After the game, the Milan Hierarchy heaped praise on Balotelli. Vice-president Adriano Galliani raved:

"We don’t have Messi but we have Balotelli. This attack reminds me of Barcelona and we will see the benefit in terms of sponsors because he is only 22 and he has great potential"

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri added:

"He has extraordinary technical and physical qualities. He can reach his full potential at Milan. I think there is too much pressure on him from the media and at 22 he is developing"

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  1. Nice u turn by bigfoot

  2. the EPL will miss balotelli , the lad's just a bit disfuctional it shows he's human , gaza was the same if not worse when on the p-ss , and many more  english n scotish players welsh irish too , hey stevie i BET balotelli has never been part of betting to lose or draw a match , betting on his home team to lose or draw , now there's a real football player rat

  3. The press did his reputation more harm than anyone. Sure there have been plenty of misfit footballers. I personally quite like him, especially the way he dealt with that s*n reporter.

  4. Had we conceded that first goal, we'd discuss how badly the defenders were placed. Poor, poor marking, good finish, though the keeper could have done better, too. The second wasn't a pen. He took it well, though, but nothing special.

    He has now played one game for the club he claims he supports. He has had good games for other clubs, too, so I would like to think that it is far to early to shower him with praise. Lets wait and see if he can stay away from controversy and if he performs on a weekly basis. Playing for the club he supports may well work in favour for him here, but I'm not holding my breath.

    I won't miss him in the Prem in general, but in matches against us. Chances were always there that he'd get sent off or spend the entire match sulking, which made it easier for us.

  5. I will not miss him and was rarely entertained by his ability. Hardly did anything good on the pitch. His good bits of play were too few, to put up with his many non-existent performances and red cards. He is no Di Canio, Cantona, etc, in terms of complimenting the bad stuff with good quality performances. Ditto, about this penalty taking though, Nicol. Very good at them. He is way way way off the consistency to justify the hype around him but maybe Serie A will better suit him and of course, being back home. Yep, he has won the league here but individually, he was handicapping City at times, such was the level of some of his performances.

  6. £19m. 22 years old. Surely he would have fallen into the FSG player model?
    I would have loved him at LFC. Sure, he would have frustrated a lot but I think, with his pace and talent, he would have been amazing up front with Suarez and feeding off Gerrard.

    Good luck, Mario, and well done for putting that s*n "reporter" in his place. 

  7. I don't think anyone ever doubted Balotelli's footballing ability, well except maybe the genius that is Nicol, but his mental ability and that is still highly questionable. Whether he scores 2 goals or 40. Blaming his age is too easy. There are plenty of 22 year olds who don't act a complete and utter fool.

  8. I have yet to witness Balotelli's talent on the field. He is a highly paid irresponsible fool. And to think that clubs are paying him so much makes them an even bigger fool. Many youngster look up to well known footballers as role models. And Balotelli is definitely sending the wrong signal to youngsters world wide.