Our Jumping Jack Flash Has Gone
Mick Jagger was once referred to as 'a great bunch of guys', and the now absolutely, definitely departed Mario Balotelli is a similarly complex character...who provokes diverse reactions like ol' Jumping Jack Flash himself.
We'll miss the brilliant individual whose 'Why always me?' goal and a strike with minimal backlift from outside the area against Fulham two years ago were moments where you could see why Bobby Manc was staking so much on Mario.
But we won't miss the can't-be-arsed-when-things-don't-go-my-way petulant Mario who showed up far too often. Mancini is a results guy (as the marketing types running the show at City might say), and he must have finally twigged that he could not afford to carry and indulge Mario any longer.
We like our geniuses to get stuck in rather than wait for their moment, and we've probably heard the moans aimed by City fans at Mario when he was in one of his petty moods. Patience ran out some time ago, and a decent financial return represents good business for City.
Since the deal was confirmed, there's been a bit of a two-way love-in from Mancini and Mario, but all too late. The boss will probably look at his Mario project as a failure, but his meagre contributions this season will probably mean that the pragmatic Mancini has already moved on.
John Guidetti is being touted as a potential replacement, but don't expect to see him pitched in just yet. Mancini is naturally cautious and if he opts for the untried Swede it will be bit by bit. There's definitely a talent there, I've seen him for the U18s and the reserves - sorry, the EDS, Under 21s...whatever... - and he could be a surprise package. Just don't hang all your hopes on him.
So au revoir to 'Bad' Mario, but good luck to 'Good' Mario - blessed with talent but with one or two, ahem, 'issues' to resolve.
all times East Manchester
Su 03Feb 16h00 Liverpool, The Etihad, PL
Sa 09Feb 17h30 Southampton, St Mary's, PL
Sa/Su 16/17Feb Leeds United, The Etihad, FAC5
Su 24Feb 13h30 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL
Mo 04Mar 20h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Sa 09Mar 15h00 Wigan, The Etihad, PL
Sa 16Mar 12h45 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 30Mar 15h00 Newcastle, The Etihad, PL