Mario Balotelli, Luis Suarez & the joy of unpredictability

Mario Balotelli looks to be on his way back  to the Premier League with Liverpool, but let’s forget the analysis over whether the Italian can plug the gap left by Luis Suarez at Anfield for a minute. The real reason to start getting excited over his return is what it could do for those heading to snap him on match day, obviously.

For all the skill and creativity of the person behind the camera, there always needs to be a bit of inspiration for a truly great photography, and in football that can often come from the natural charisma and brilliance of the players on the field.

Witters: Balotelli celebrates scoring Italy's opener against Germany at Euro 2012.
Witters: Balotelli celebrates scoring Italy’s opener against Germany at Euro 2012.

The best subjects are those who refuse to be contained by the game. The likes of Suarez and Balotelli provide a constant stream of incidents and reinvention, from their mischief making to their moments of splendour on the ball.

With their quality too, such players can score goals from seemingly all angles, draw spectacle from the most mundane moments, and generally carry an air of anticipation with them over every blade of grass covered.

The lens of Offside’s Mark Leech has always been attracted to these individual protagonists:

“I’ve always believed in seeking out the unpredictable players. It always put you on edge when Bowles, Gascoigne, Vinnie or Balotelli were on the pitch.”

“Some were worth watching for their talent alone too such as Dalglish, Henry, or Hoddle. Some were in both categories, Suarez and Cantona. And then there were those who were beyond any category: Maradona and Best.”

Mark Leech: Balotelli takes a shot against England.
Mark Leech: Balotelli takes a shot against England.

Balotelli will be a joy to shoot this season if his transfer to Liverpool is confirmed. Supported by Brendan Rodgers’ arm round his shoulder and surrounded by other exciting players such as Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, he could be pure box office up front for the Reds.

Charlie Crowhurst: Balotelli is chased by the Man United players.
Charlie Crowhurst: Balotelli is chased by the Man United players.

Football is often talked about with regards to its narratives and the on-field actions that become off-field stories with minds of their own. Who better to provoke the headlines and drive the chatter this season than Super Mario?

After all, in his previous stint with Manchester City, controversy and drama was never too far away, whether it was indoor fireworks the night before a derby, t-shirt based goal celebrations, fights with Manchester United’s players and clashes with his own manager, Roberto Mancini.

Whether he provides some excitement with his goalscoring exploits or transgressions, the Premier League and its photo galleries are sure to be an even more interesting place with Balotelli back in the fold.

Marc Atkins: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City with bleached blonde hair.
Marc Atkins: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City with bleached blonde hair.

Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of classic First Division and Premier League pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.

Follow Offside on Twitter at @welloffside.

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Author: gregianjohnson

Football writer for The Blizzard, FourFourTwo, The Mirror, Squawka and VICE amongst others. Follow me on Twitter at @gregianjohnson.

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