The purpose of this feature is to explain not exactly why Mario Balotelli does the weird things he does, but what his actions and our responses say about the role of the modern athlete. I try to show that the peculiar things he does contain great significances beyond their status as curiosities. But they are still curiosities, and sometimes I have to remind myself that Balotelli is a really bizarre guy.
There are occasions when I don't really have an answer for the things he does. Take, for instance, the clip above (via Dirty Tackle), in which Balotelli randomly interrupted Internazionale's introduction of Andrea Stramaccioni as their third manager of the season. Instead of quietly entering the room and hanging in the back, Balotelli put a halt to the press conference entirely, shaking the hands of everyone at the table and making everyone in attendance wonder why the club's former player was acting as some sort of goodwill ambassador.
Inter general manager Ernesto Paolillo tried to explain Balotelli's presence, but he really just made it painfully clear he had no idea what had happened. From Football Italia:
“We didn’t know he’d make this ‘blitz’ and it was a very pleasant surprise. It was a sign of his respect towards Inter and the Nerazzurri youth academy.”
Nice try, Ernie. Stramaccioni was promoted from youth coach and Balotelli came up through Inter's system, but I'm willing to bet he had never heard of Stramaccioni before the day and just wanted to jump into a press conference.
It's possible that Mario still has fond feelings for the club that made him an internationally known footballer. That's not a rare feeling, though, and most players don't return to their past clubs during days off to grab attention at press conferences. This was just something Balotelli wanted to do.
If there's a deeper meaning behind this event, it's that Balotelli acts in a way that defies logic so fully that we can only remember why we care about him so much in the first place. He's worth thinking about in depth, because, at root, there's no one else like him. True originals can reflect our general feelings and approaches, which Balotelli does often. Yet the relatable can also be unfamiliar, and Balotelli is one of God's own prototypes if we've ever encountered one.