Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Taming of Super Mario

In January, there was a lot of discussion about bringing Mario Balotelli to AC Milan. I don’t think I know of anyone who felt it was not going to be a good idea on the pitch. His talent is uncontested, and certainly would help us. But it was the questions surrounding his behavior off the pitch that became the focus of discussion. So, like one would for any Super Hero worth his super powers, Milan assembled a team of experts to help his transition. While his goal scoring prowess and larger than life personality has become the spotlight, it was this quiet team of specialists that helped his transition from Manchester City’s bad boy to Milan’s super star. In essence, they were responsible for the taming of Super Mario.

There hasn't been any need to ask this question at Milan

Financial Advisors
Thanks to the careful instruction in money management, there are no longer stories of Balotelli flashing large sums of money simply because he’s rich. Nor does he make headlines for giving large sums of money to ladies of the evening. No one tells stories of him paying for everyone’s gas at a gas station, either. Not even the rumors of him dressed up as Santa and giving out cash are being spread anymore, all thanks to this hardworking team of financial advisors. Now no one has any idea how he spends his money, and that is the way it should be. Well done.

Number of bib-related incidents at Milan: zero

Bib Trainers
It is well known that while at Manchester City, Balotelli was left on his own to navigate the trickery of putting a bib on. Not at Milan. Thanks to an expert crew of professional bib trainers, Balotelli has become well-versed in the putting on and taking off of training bibs, and has gone from red-faced novice to experienced pro in no time. Also, they help him know which kits to wear when, and which socks to wear to training. Thank you, bib trainers.

Information Technology Specialists
After making headlines for “crashing” a women’s prison with his brother, the IT specialists at Milan had their work cut out for them. They installed a GPS device in his car and trained him in its use, so he would always know where he was going and not get lost. They also showed him how to use Google to search for life’s curiosities from the comfort of his home, so as to avoid any public unpleasantries. He has not been seen at a women’s prison or any other inappropriate location since then, nor has he brought an iPad to the bench of a national team friendly again, either, so well done, IT guys!

Maya knows her place

Animal Wranglers
It is well known that Balotelli has an affinity for animals. At Manchester City he reportedly adopted a cat that would come with him to training. At Milan, it was a new dog named Lucky who came with. But it also seems he’s got a pig named Maya. With so many animals, it’s important for him to remember which ones can come to training, etc. Thank goodness for Milan’s animal wranglers, they help avoid any embarrassing animal related incidents.

Fire Safety Specialists
A very well known incident involving Balotelli while at Manchester City was when he and some friends set off some fireworks in his bathroom and ended up setting his house on fire. They thought the answer to this was making him a poster boy for firework safety, but Milan knew better. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their fire safety specialists, Mario is well versed in the proper handling of all things flammable and explosive, and there have been no more fiery incidents since. Whatever would we do without such dedicated fire safety specialists?

No go karts here, no problems.

Activities Planners
Lest he should throw water balloons at camera crews or throw darts at youth players, Milan’s activities planners have been hard at work helping him find constructive things to do with his time. For example, there is a clause in his contract that says that he can’t drive go carts, so instead he drives his Ferrarri on a go kart track. Problem solved. The activities planners have done their jobs.

In reality, Milan didn’t hire any of these people. It helps that the British press have been removed from the equation, as many of these things are just urban myths made up to sell papers. But Balotelli wanted to come to Milan, it truly was coming home for him. The red and black jersey is his home. To be perfectly fair, Milan did hire some extra public relations people. But Berlusconi and Galliani have needed the public relations help much, much more. Even despite ridiculous amounts of racism and media attention to his every move, Super Mario has been super exemplary.

All football and nothing but football... as it should be

In fact, it has been Balotelli himself who has helped himself the most. He got himself a Twitter account, and straightens out any rumors himself in real time. The press reports he's engaged? A quick tweet to his 1,000,000+ followers says otherwise. The media say he'll tak the humber 9 jersey? One tweet tells the world that he is number 45 forever. It’s hard for the media to run with a story he has already debunked. Balotelli will tell you that it’s his beautiful girlfriend, Fanny Neguesha that has tamed him. But in reality, it seems like it was Super Mario who tamed himself (at least so far.) Well done, Super Mario.

This post inspired by the music of The Smiths