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November 4, 2011 / benwolfson08

Mario Balotelli: The Most Interesting Man in the Football World

Love him or hate him Mario Balotelli's talent is as tantalizing as his off the field exploits

It’s hard to imagine Manchester City’s talented striker, Mario Balotelli is six months younger than me. At 21 he has already been a professional footballer since he was a 15-year old.

He first made his mark in Italy’s Serie A at Lumezzane, then at Internazionale.

During his time at Inter, he was subjected to many racist chants. At San Siro, Inter Milan’s stadium, graffiti was sprayed that read, “You are not a true Italian, you are a black African.”

Balotelli was bought by former Inter boss Roberto Mancini and Manchester City for a total of £24 million last year. The Italian international reportedly makes almost £6 million per year and is one of the highest paid players in the Barclays Premier League with a weekly salary said to be over £100,000.

In Manchester was when the legend of Super Mario came to be.

Where to begin…

Balotelli's hair at one point

The stories of Balotelli are endless. In Manchester he threw darts at youth team player simply because he was bored. He is known to accumulate thousands of dollars in parking tickets.

He’s paid up to £300,000 in fines to City since he has been a member of the team.

One time after he crashed his car, police officers asked him why he was carrying £5,000 in cash. Balotelli’s response, “Because I am rich.”

This is a player who at Internazionale went on TV wearing rival AC Milan’s hat on his head. During one match he flung off his shirt and left the pitch, while after the game a group of his own fans tried to assault him in the parking lot.

He dates Italian model Raffaela Fico, even though he reportedly tried to woo pornstar Holly Henderson while Fico was in Italy on a modeling trip.

Balotelli and girlfriend Fico

Two other things have caught the attention of the footballing world this season. While in the U.S. on an exhibition tour this summer with Manchester City, Balotelli tried to showboat against the LA Galaxy when instead of passing up an easy goal, he turned around and tried to backheel it in. He missed and manager Mancini, benched him right after.

Right before one of the biggest matches of the year — the Manchester derby — authorities were called to Balotelli’s mansion at 1 AM in the morning because the superstar and his friends had set the bathroom on fire after launching fireworks off in there.

That’s right, he set his own house on fire right before the biggest match of the year.

Well how did he follow that up you may ask?

He scored two goals against arch-rival Man United the next day and revealed his shirt saying, “Why Always Me?” This was in a 6-1 thrashing that embarrassed the Red Devils and established Manchester City as the team to beat in the Premier League.

As for his fireworks display, a 30-ft effigy was made promoting firework safety for Bonfire Night in Kent. It seems whatever Super Mario does he makes headlines and is a complete rockstar. The Premier League needs someone like this and fans not familiar with soccer should watch him play. The uber talented 21-year old could become one of the best players in the world if he can stay on the field.

the 30 foot effigy of Balotelli for Bonfire Night in Kent


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