With about fifteen minutes left to play in the match, and with AC Milan losing 2-1 to Napoli, Clarence Seedorf held his breath and made a brave decision: off came Mario Balotelli, with Giampaolo Pazzini taking his place. That's only the third time SuperMario has been substituted this season - the most recent in December's win over Catania, the other in October's loss in Parma, where Balotelli was booked for diving.
Mario, who'd had a bit of a rough week, was seen afterward in the Milan dugout, hiding behind a coat. When the coat slipped, it was obvious the striker was crying.
After the match, many tried to stir up a rumor that Balo was crying because he'd been the subject of racist chants at the San Paolo. Since then, both Napoli and Seedorf dismissed that idea, with the Milan coach saying the tears were nothing abnormal in football.
Still, it's not often we fans are treated to tearstained cheeks being broadcast from the bench. It seems like it had to be something pretty major to set off tough-guy Mario. What could it have been?
- Mario was frustrated with himself for the fact that he had but one shot on target, yet managed to be caught offside three times.
- After getting to the bench, it sank in that a reject from the English Championship had managed to score - and was getting all the Twitter love.
- Mario is exhausted with the pressure brought on by everything always being about him.
- Mario realized that, if he's going to be a dad, he's going to have to trade in one of his many vehicles - perhaps the Ferrari Spider - in order to fit a minivan in the garage. Or perhaps the orange Range Rover is a suitable enough family car?
- He misses the melodious sounds of Allegri yelling "DAI DAI DAI" for ninety minutes
- Philippe Mexès. Enough said.
- Mario had heard too much about the "Milan Spirit" from Seedorf and, when entering the dugout, felt a cold chill creep up his spine and something brush up against his arm. Mario does not like ghosts.
- Ignazio Abate in midfield.
- Mario's barber carved one too many swirls into the side of his head.
- Mario realized he forgot to feed Super before leaving for Naples, and a lack of cell reception in the dugout meant he couldn't find someone to drop by and feed the pig.
- Mario is in possession of a time machine, flew into the future, read the quality of humor in this article, and broke down sobbing.