After a disappointing season with AC Milan, it is perhaps not surprising that Mario Balotelli is hitting the bookshelves in an attempt to find inspiration to get himself back on track next year.
The fiery forward, who is 1/2 to be an Arsenal player by the end of the transfer window, first turned to the similarly mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tome “I am Zlatan”, but if he fails to find to what he needs there, here are five other men he could turn to.
Andrea Pirlo – I think therefore I play
Balotelli could not just take a leaf out of his compatriot’s book in terms of exuding calmness on the pitch, but having missed the first penalties of his career last season, he could try Pirlo’s unique trick for motivating himself before a spot kick.
As he lined up his strike against France in the World Cup final shootout in 2006, Pirlo was thinking the following:
“I lifted my eyes to the heavens and asked for help because if God exists, there’s no way he’s French.”
Paul Merson – How not to be a professional footballer
If Balo ever considers really going off the rails, a quick peruse of Merson’s fall from grace might make him reconsider.
In the extract below, Merse recounts the time his wife told him that Tony Adams made a mess of his brand new sofa bed.
“Then Lorraine started shouting. ‘He’s p***ed the bed!
“I looked over to see her pointing at a wet patch on our brand-new furniture. I was furious. I grabbed the paper and chased down the street after Tone as he pulled away in his car. ‘You donkey, Adams!’ I shouted. ‘You’re a f*** ing donkey!'”
Harry Redknapp – Always managing
The Italian forward was once reportedly stopped by the police while driving, who found he had £25,000 of cash in his car.
For money-storage tips, he can always turn to Harry, who once had to stash £30,000 of Merson’s cash on match-day.
“I couldn’t leave it in the changing room, but I almost always wear a suit on the touchline. That day I changed. I put a tracksuit on so there was more room to conceal these readies.”
Ashley Cole – My defence
Perhaps the most famous extract ever from a footballer’s autobiography, if Mario needs tips on how to renegotiate a contract, there’s only one place to turn.
“When I heard Jonathan (Barnett) repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on. I’d trusted Mr Dein to push the deal through.”
Steve Claridge – Beyond the boot camps
As Balotelli’s career goes on, a first-team place will become harder to come by, but as Claridge explains when discussing his first match as Portsmouth’s player-manager, there is one way to ensure a spot.
“My first game was at home to Sheffield Wednesday and, naturally, I picked myself”