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Diego Maradona Wants Napoli To Sign Mario Balotelli

Napoli's most legendary player has identified the player that he feels Napoli must pursue this summer.

This could be a fun combination on the pitch.
This could be a fun combination on the pitch.
Claudio Villa

We know that Diego Maradona wants to manage Napoli some day. Well, it seems he's already trying to work on player acquisition, as he's publicly declared that Napoli should pursue AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

It would certainly be a big "statement" purchase for Napoli to make, and one in line with the belief of manager Rafa Benitez that Napoli need to "add more star players" in order to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe. When he's on and firing, Balotelli is one of the best and most dangerous strikers in the world, capable of creating amazing goals from absolutely nothing. The thought of him and an in-form Marek Hamsik combining is simply mouth-watering. The downside, though, is that he can be one of the visibly petulant and pout-y players on the pitch that you'll see, and gives away a lot of stupid fouls and spends too much time suspended as a result.

There's no question that Balotelli is immensely talented, and could potentially be a huge asset for Napoli if they can get his head screwed on straight. That's a much bigger "if" with Balotelli than with most players, though. This is, after all, the guy who burned down his house by setting off fireworks in his bathroom. He once kicked Goran Popov in the chest during a Europa League match, getting sent off and ending any chance Manchester City had to advance to the quarter finals. Then, of course, there's the "Why Always Me?" goal celebration.

That's just a short version of the list of Balotelli's "incidents". All you have to do is google "Mario Balotelli controversy" and you'll get page after page after page of stories and lists and pictures and videos of things he's done. You'd have to wonder if his considerable talents would be worth the distraction.

Of course, all this doesn't even say anything about the fact that Napoli already have a pretty darn good striker. He's scored 20 goals in 37 all-competitions appearances for Napoli this season, with ten assists thrown in for fun. Maradona did do his best to not insult his countryman, saying "Gonzalo is a great person. I know his father too because we played football together and I must say he knows a lot about this sport." Still, Napoli fans are perfectly happy with Higuain's contributions this season, and he could be an even brighter star next season with a squad that's been further reinforced and injected with quality.

Higuain could certainly use a high-quality backup, but Balotelli is overqualified for such a spot, lumps and all. Still, it's a fun idea to think on, especially coming from someone like Maradona. It's ultimately a hollow argument; if Milan do for some reason make Balotelli available, clubs bigger than Napoli will seek his services. There may be some public flirtation, but ultimately the mercurial striker will make his home somewhere other than Naples. Now, if Milan want to discuss the serves of Stephan El Sharaawy, we might be on to something...