Amongst the delirious celebrations following Inter’s victory over Barcelona, it is Mario Balotelli’s behaviour attracting the most attention.
The fans did not appreciate his efforts on the pitch which bordered on the lackadaisical and they positively hissed when he hoisted a cross to nowhere. It prompted Mourinho to gesticulate wildly with his hands. For Balotelli, an AC Milan fan, it was the last straw and he ended up throwing his jersey in disgust.
As the game ended and he headed down to the tunnel, a few fans at the San Siro tried to attack him. Harsh words were exchanged between Marco Materazzi and Mario Balotelli, the confrontation witnessed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The temperamental striker’s behaviour has come for universal condemnation.
Javier Zanetti, the captain tried defusing the tension by appealing to Balotelli:
“Mario has to think what he does on the field and he cannot afford this type of behavior. He must be intelligent and understand that the fans in a game such as this may be nervous.”
Inter’s CEO, Ernesto Paolillo: “Balotelli’s gesture? Very bad.” He promised action.
Jose Mourinho: “Today I wanted to showcase his talent, the world’s eyes were on him, and he did this ugly thing.”
Dejan Stankovic: “You see what’s inside the Balotelli’s head, he is like a child.”
Even a legend like Roberto Baggio weighed in: “Balotelli is a great talent, but he must change his attitude. Acting in this way will not attract the sympathy of the fans.”