James Lawton: 'The Bonkers Balotelli Brigade' welcomes Signor Mino to its ranks

Mario Balotelli's agent has made comments about his client that are risible – but also alarming

Even though hardly a day passes now without the phrase "mad as a box of Balotellis" burrowing a little deeper into common usage, the first full public statement by his agent was still a little startling.

If at times Mario seems to spend much of his time in his own private universe, his closest professional adviser does not appear the ideal candidate to organise periodic returns to Planet Earth.

His declaration, "The FA must defend Mario, otherwise he may think of leaving England," may be risible but it should also be alarming.

If Balotelli has an especially pressing need it is for everyone who cares for him to try to push him towards reality – not in precisely the opposite direction.

Mino Raiola also wants a life ban for the World Cup final referee Howard Webb, for saying that his second look at Balotelli's stomach-wrenching stamping of Scott Parker on Sunday told him that he had completely under-assessed the nastiness of the offence.

The worry is, of course, that a 21-year-old of sumptuous football gifts but a completely unprogrammed understanding of how most normal human beings are required to prosecute their lives is both beyond sound advice and exposed to some which, certainly on the evidence provided by Signor Raiola, would hardly make it on to the back of a packet of cereal.

Yes, we know Mario has some amazing gifts but at the moment, Mino, we are not discussing some amiably loony departure from the demands of the professional life but an incident which helped shaped one of the most important football games likely to be played this season in the Premier League. This involved the application of Balotelli's boot to the unprotected face of a fallen opponent.

It was disturbing confirmation that amid the stories of impromptu generosity, firework displays in his own bathroom, and a disciplinary record that his manager, Roberto Mancini, would like to consign to one of the deeper recesses of hell, there is a rather darker realty.

It is that Balotelli is incapable of controlling his instincts in almost any situation – and certainly the one in which he is cast as a public performer. This is not a quality to celebrate – or even, let's be serious, to tolerate.

Certainly it provides, at least from this perspective, not the scintilla of a reason to see his exit from our football life as anything approaching a national calamity.

Not being present when the agent made his statement, it is hard to know how closely his facial expression resembled that of Jack Nicholson after his character had received electric shock treatment in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but the following few sentences must provoke at least some speculation...

"If I find there is something strange against Mario, my duty is to protect and take him away. I'd speak with City, ask them his price and look for the best team for him as there are only six or seven clubs he can play for."

Real Madrid is not one of them, we know for sure. When at Internazionale, Jose Mourinho announced that the boy, undoubtedly gifted, simply wasn't worth the trouble. Mourinho said that the best of his players were required to train and behave like professionals. It was the only basis on which to build a team. After the Parker incident, Tottenham's Harry Redknapp merely said that he was glad he did not have to explain the player's behaviour. It had no place on a football field.

Some now suggest that because of his youth – and the degree of his talent – Balotelli requires special treatment and understanding. It is one of the most bizarre propositions ever made in England football since Arsène Wenger, approaching his first great crest of achievement at Arsenal, said that if referees and the Football Association's disciplinary committee did not exercise a little more restraint his new signing Patrick Vieira might well pack his bags and head for the airport.

No matter that Vieira, for all his outstanding gifts, was performing at the time as though his personal mission was to take on the role of a one-man Apache war party.

No matter, now, that Balotelli has lurched from one bizarre, discipline-free incident after another into behaviour that threatened serious injury, even the blinding, of a fellow professional.

The call for a special understanding still goes out. "Be careful," warns Signor Raiola, "or Mario may leave. He is happy to stay but he doesn't understand certain things, they sadden him."

This is all funny enough, on a somewhat desperate level, but then you think about it for a minute or two and what do you find? It is an invitation to open the box and live with the consequences. What, you have to wonder, is keeping the men in the white coats?

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all