With two of the three group fixtures in the books for the Rossoneri, it is safe to say that a fairly clear indication of how the upcoming season will fare has been given. After 3-0 and 5-1 obliteration at the hands of Olympiacos and Manchester City respectively, it appears that the road ahead for Milan is long and ill-lit.
That being said, just how telling have these matches in the Guinness International Champions Cup been For Milan? The short answer is simply stating that it is in fact quite telling, however it is so much more than that, as certain apprehensions and concerns have been verified and all signs are pointing to what will be a vastly unsuccessful 2014/15 campaign. One player familiar to the spotlight, Mario Balotelli, has resurfaced into said spotlight upon uninspired and unfocused performances. And from what has been seen in the World Cup and now in the first two friendlies of the club season, the ICC has pointed to a still glaringly obvious issue in Mario Balotelli’s game: Maturity.
At 23 years old, it is safe to say that Super Mario has not entered his prime, and he is currently raw talent that still needs shaping to establish true form. Balotelli has proven both at the international and club level that he is capable of remarkable things, but those memories have been fairly inconsistent in recent memory.
The concern with Balotelli is that Milan is more or less a training squad for him, and once his skills have been honed, he will not hesitate to up and leave and supply another squad with his abilities.
In essence, Milan needs Super Mario to grow up and focus on his game. No more selfies with pitch invaders when they are down 5-1, no more disciplinary issues and he needs to go easy on the critical remarks. Balotelli is far too great of a talent to be bogged down by a lack of maturity, and his performance in these past two friendlies have indicated that he still has some steps to take to mature.
Balotelli is an incredibly gifted and special player, and should be for some time, but like every young athlete, his maturity will play a role in the type of career he has. Balotelli is not 21 anymore, and the focus of his game, albeit a friendly, club or international fixture needs to improve, no matter which kit he is donning.