Mario Balotelli. Why is it always Mario Balotelli?

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When, for the love of all that is good, will Roberto Mancini learn that Mario Balotelli simply is not worth the trouble?

The volatile young striker is undeniably talented.  But is he really so talented, so indispensable to Manchester City’s championship defense and Champions League ambition that Mancini should tolerate all the attached drama, distraction and potential discord?

Absolutely not.

His latest stunt: Subbed out after 56 hum-drum minutes Saturday (and right after missing out on a chance from directly in front of goal), Balotelli sulked off the field, taking a long, slow, brooding walk of discontent before heading straight down the tunnel.

(By the way, he was taken off for Sergio Aguero, which isn’t exactly like being removed in favor of some 18-year-old fringe figure from the reserve squad.)

Mancini didn’t help matters, remaining seated and failing to so much as look Balotelli’s way rather than standing to extend a hand, as is customary.

Either way, rather than talking about a commanding afternoon from the champs, a comfortable 3-0 win over Sunderland, some of the focus is once again returned to Mr. “Why Always Me,” the man who keeps answering his own ridiculous question.

More on the match is here.

Just for fun – and because I cannot find a clip (not yet, anyway) of today’s silliness – here’s one of my personal, favorite Balotelli moments. This was also against Sunderland, by the way; something about those Mackems brings out the worst in him, apparently. It’s Balotelli fighting over a free kick with teammate Aleksandar Kolarov.

Absolutely ridiculous.