At 24 years old, Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli has had one of the strangest careers on record. Since debuting with Inter Milan at the barely ripe age of 17, Balotelli played for Manchester City and AC Milan before joining The Brendan Rodgers Revolution™ at Anfield. He has featured on the Italian national team, playing for the Azzurri at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. But despite a glowing résumé, most Mario Balotelli headlines have nothing to do with Mario Balotelli playing soccer.
Unfortunately, today won’t disrupt that trend.
Liverpool is in the midst of conducting voting for the club’s 2014-2015 Player of the Year award. The award, voted on by fans, “is for the football player who has captured the fans with his determination, passion and commitment to the team and club.” The only prerequisite is that the player has to have played more than one minute for the first team. Mario Balotelli, despite not having the best of seasons and not featuring often, has played more than one minute.
That explains the shock behind news that Liverpool, as reported by ESPN, had removed Balotelli from its voting drop-down menu. Why? Probably because it was looking like the Italian international was going to win. Why? Because other fans exist, as does this thing reportedly called “banter.”
Since the initial reports, Balotelli has been returned to the list. I know this because maybe I just voted for him.
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know the actual results because soccer doesn’t believe in real transparency. So I’m comfortable going out on a limb and saying “Congrats, Mario Balotelli, on your Player of the Year award! We all know you’re the real winner.”