Mario Balotelli has always been kind of a headcase. Of late, his nuttiness has unfortunately overshadowed his undeniable abilities. But now, after commemorating his second start with his new club Nice with his second two-goal match, it’s beginning to look like maybe Balo is more crazy good than just plain crazy.
Balo’s first goal in Nice’s 4-0 win over Monaco yesterday was the cooler looking one. Watch how he positions himself perfectly against Monaco’s back line, sprints onto a pass over the top, and sets up his shot with an immaculate, outside-of-the-foot second touch. The second was pretty, too.
We’ve long been fans of the lovably combustable, outrageously talented Balotelli. His unique mix of zaniness and skill make him a particularly fascinating character. Somewhere along the line, though, Balo fandom went from anticipating what crazy and/or great thing he’d do on the pitch to simply hoping he’d find a team willing to put him on the pitch in the first place. It’s still very early, but it does appear that, in Nice, Balotelli has found a club that will put him on the field and structure the team in a way that gets the best out of him.
For as much as all of Balo’s many well-wishers have wanted the best for him, Balotelli himself must have yearned for a place where he could go back to being a soccer player that much more. You can see this in his unalloyed joy at once again playing, and playing well again, right there on his face. While Balotelli normally makes a point to emote as little as possible during his post-goal “celebrations”—even in the aftermath of a truly amazing feat—after both of the goals he scored yesterday he couldn’t conceal for even a second a big, toothy grin. We’re just happy that he’s happy.