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|PHOTO: MARIO POWERS UP, GERMANY GOES DOWN. THE WORLD IS RIVETED.|
Mario Balotelli stole the show against Germany. (Getty Images)
Whoa, whoa MARIO.
Mario Balotelli has taken a significant turn in the development of his professional footballer persona. Whoever Mario is off the field, he’s most certainly a gifted and intelligent player on it. But even there, when he’s scoring a brace and yanking his team into an unexpected European final appearance, he has an insatiable need to remind us that’s not just really, really good, he’s also MARIO.
MARIO, with the defiant, peacocking celebration after his well-taken second. MARIO, the subject of more dime-store psychology than anyone this side of Lindsay Lohan. MARIO, whose prodigious talents are only superseded by his complicated personality.
Both sides of MARIO were on display in Warsaw. MARIO can rip his shirt off to celebrate in an obvious (and perhaps odious, depending on your perspective) “look at me” gesture, then share a touching moment with his mother after the game, and there’s no contradiction. MARIO is fascinating because, on the surface, his behavior makes him detestable, but his difficult upbringing and status as a symbol of Italy’s struggle with multiculturalism (specifically, African immigration) makes us look for a greater understanding.
Really, he’s just a pissed off 21-year old with a boatload of money and, through no fault of his own, the role of an outsider in his home country. It doesn’t take a shrink to see why he’s got a bit of the rebel about him.
|IF THIS POWER EVER FALLS INTO THE WRONG HANDS, I FEAR FOR THE WORLD.|
|THE YAK HEADS TO CHINA, LEAVING PEPLE SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS IN HIS WAKE.|
Yakubu is leaving Blackburn for the cash-lined streets of the Chinese league, makes a curious comment about his time with the Rovers. // Off the Post
|WHY DOES CHINA GET ALL THE BEST STUFF? TOTALLY UNFAIR.|
In China, player’s names can be trademarked without their knowledge and used to sell just about anything. Like a Ronaldo toilet. Which you know you want. // China Daily
|PHOTO: HE CAME. HE SAW. HE LOOKED KINDA SILLY.|
Hooray Italy! (AP Photo)
|THAT’S NOT THE ONLY THING RYAN GIGGS HAS WRECKED, AMIRIGHT? BA DUM TISH.|
“Ryan Giggs wrecks David Beckham’s Olympic dream” says the Guardian. Poor Becks. // The Guardian
|IT’S NEW SHIRT SEASON, WHICH MEANS EVERYONE IS TRYING TO OUT-EPIC EVERYONE ELSE.|
Ajax’s new home shirt comes with the requisite video goodness. // The Beautiful Gear
|HALF-ITALIAN, HALF-GERMAN, ALL REALLY REALLY GOOD PLAYER.|
Riccardo Montolivo hit the pass that MARIO scored for his second with a boot that has a German flag on it. // 101GG
|PHOTO: THAT’S A WASTE OF PERFECTLY GOOD FOOD IN THE MIDST OF A RECESSION.|
The celebrations of Italy’s win over Germany in Berlin involved the throwing of raw spaghetti for reasons I do not understand. (Getty Images)
|THERE’S SLIGHTLY LESS PINK INVOLVED THAN I WAS EXPECTING.|
Take a photo tour of the Euros in Donestk with Kickette. // Kickette
|IT’S LIKE A FISHING SHOW THAT I’D ACTUALLY WATCH.|
The Euro 2012 final will be a battle of the passmasters, Pirlo v. Xavi. // Bleacher Report
|I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE TAPE ON MARIO’S BACK DOES, BUT SUDDENLY I WANT TO WEAR SOME.|