Balotelli could have been in the news for other reasons off late, but this time; he has done something that he is known always for. He along with Daniele De Rossi helped their national team draw a friendly again Brazil; the match which looked to be a one sided affair after Brazil took a comprehensive 2 goals lead in the first half. It is completely wrong to say that Brazil performed magnificently in the first half to take the initial lead, though it was a bad show by Italy to enable them take lead. Within nine minutes of the second half, Daniele De Rossi reduced the lead by one goal and within three minutes, it was Balotelli turn to take the initiative and he scored a brilliant goal to equalize the match; he has scored eight goals in total in 2013, hence he looks to be in excellent form to answer his critics. Fred and Oscar scored from Brazil in the first half which went juiceless in the second half. Anyways, the match began with a tribute to Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea by offering a one minute silence; Mennea died on Thursday.
Santos young superstar Neymar openly admitted that he is a big fan of Balotelli; perhaps the way he performed in the last match, Neymar became even more attached to him. Neymar himself was the part of Brazil squad during the match and he closely watched the playing style of Italian striker who was famous for wrong reasons off late. However, Neymar said he has always been his fan and inspired by his on and off the field behaviors – may be he is not serious about that! Neymar said after the match, "He's a player that I'm a big fan of. A great player and great person. I think the Selecao were good. We are getting better with each passing day and you can see our team improving. It's a great team, with players of real quality."
Brazil goalie Julio Cesar said about the match that it was more his sides failing rather Italian strength. He was highly unsatisfied with the way his national team could not stand by their initial lead. He said, "The game was in our hands, but we stalled. They scored two goals from our errors more than by their merit. Of course they had merit, but they scored from things we got wrong."
Anyways, for the time being, Balotelli is in good form and everyone seems to be appreciating his performance despite the fact that he also missed one or two chances during first half.
The tallest footballer of the world, who apparently had a worst training session last week, is being called up again by the same manager: Lee Clark, who accused him of showing negative attitude during the training session just few days ago. It was like a flip flop from his side when he decided to call him back for Birmingham's Wednesday clash with Sheffield. Last week, when he was axed by the manager, he cited the reason as he was not serious to his training and that is why he had to sideline him which did not work coz Birmingham lost to Hornets by 4-0 on Saturday. The defeat made him change his decision though he never accepted his assessment was wrong a week ago considering the circumstances at that time. Now, he is saying he never wanted to leave him out for a longer period of time coz he considers him as an integral part of the squad. He said, "I'll be having a chat with Nikola. He trained very well on Sunday, by all accounts from the staff and what I have seen on his GPS stats. He has really worked harder than any player. I will have a conversation with him, and we'll see where we go. Hopefully he'll be involved, and he'll make us win the game. But it's been a tough few days, I've got to say."
Birmingham has to play its next match with improving Owls coming Tuesday and Clark is making it sure they don't lose more matches. He also made a comeback call to Keith Fahey, Republic of Ireland midfielder, who has not played any match for them since mid-November. Despite his absence from the field, he was continuously practicing to maintain his fitness for a sudden call which is what happening now. Clark said over his call to Keith Fahey, "Our objective now is, without risking injury, to get him back quickly and as safely as possible. Whether that's two weeks, four weeks, a couple of development games, we can get him to the level where he can be what he is - a big influence on the team."
Actually, there seems to be a problem between these two and Clark's comeback call to Zigic is being taken as his face saving move after devastating defeat on Saturday. However, Clark is completely denying all these bust-up allegations with Serbian striker and says it is part of the game to rest a player and suddenly call him back in the next match, if needed.