Mario Balotelli: Breaking the MouldPosted: October 31, 2011
Crazy – The Oxford dictionary defines this word as someone “mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way”, but other words that can be used for the same meaning include: Psycho, mental, wacko, and nutter, and if you look up any of these words, you are bound to see one face beside them: Mario Balotelli.
If you watched the Manchester derby over the weekend, you would have noticed Super Mario scored the opening goal of the game. If you saw that then you are bound to have seen the t-shirt he revealed during his nonchalant celebration which said “Why Always Me?”.
This is said to be referring to the story that broke earlier that weekend, in which the fire department were called out to his home because it had been set alight due to fire works being fired out of the bathroom window.
However, this is not the only incident that Balotelli has got into the media headlines for. In fact, he has been quite notorious for it since his early days at Inter Milan.
His career started brightly at the San Siro, scoring 2 goals against Reggina on his first start for Inter, but his talent began to be shadowed by his disciplinary issues, beginning with a feud with then manager, Jose Mourinho, which only ended when he left the club.
Now, one would assume that as a footballer who wants to make the team, it would be best to apologise to the club manager and start working harder in training, and at least not be seen wearing the jersey of your team’s main rivals. Not Balotelli. Following Inter’s Champions League win over Chelsea, an Italian TV show presented him with a fake gold trophy for not playing against Chelsea, or in the weekends draw with Palermo. He was also presented with an AC Milan jersey, complete with his name and number. He has also confessed he is a life long Milan fan and has been spotted shopping in Milans official store.
As if he wasn’t unliked by his manager and fellow team mates as it was, he made things even worse for himself after he was accused of not knowing his place in the hierarchy of Inter. During a game against Palermo, Balotelli won a penalty, but instead of allowing the more established striker, Samuel Eto’o, take the penalty, he decided he wanted to take it instead, which led to Balotelli having to be dragged away by Javier Zanetti.
Mario’s farewell antic could have left him in better stead with Milan’s pedestrians and police officers but he decided to anger them all for one last time before bringing some excitement to the boring, rainy city of Manchester. While cruising around Milan, he decided to lean out of his car firing a toy gun in one of the city’s main squares, for which he was reprimanded by the police.
Balotelli introduced himself to City with a bang, a big one, quite literally, after he crashed his £120,000 Audi R8 following his debut, on which he scored.
And his run of luck didn’t end there, as he was sent off in two games in quick succession against West Brom and then Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League. The latter, was probably more notorious for the fact that Balotelli struggled to put on his training bib during the pre game warm up, and had to be assisted to put it on, causing Robbie Savage to nickname him “Mario Biblotelli”. I don’t know what is worst – Not being able to put on a bib on live television, or being mocked by Robbie Savage.
The antic which has put Balotelli in hot water the most during his time at City was when he took up a new past time, darts. Oh I forgot to mention his target. It was a City youth team player. Thankfully, no one was hurt, however, Balotelli was given a slap on the wrist by officials and had to pay a £300,000 fine.
Of all the rules Balotelli has broken in his life non are probably as funny as him breaking the “No touching” rule in a Liverpool strip club. However, it wasn’t the fact he felt up a stripper that makes this story great, it is the fact he stood up to 5 bouncers on his own. He then got in his Maserati, which one of the bouncers hit around 6 times before speeding off.
Other stories about Balotelli include him apparently sleeping with his then girlfriend, Sophie Reade’s, best friend while she was asleep upstairs and he is said to have chanted “Rooney, Rooney!” to Wayne Rooney’s prostitute, Jenny Thompson, in the middle of a crowded restaurant. During the Summer he was caught driving into a women’s prison without permission with his 17 year old brother after seeing the door open and being curious about what it was like inside. It is also said he has £10,000 worth of parking tickets and his car has been impounded 27 times.
Although some of Balotelli’s antics have given him bad publicity, there are some which have been over looked which would allow people to see the Italian in a different light. After crashing his car, police say that he had around £5,000 cash in his pocket. As it turns out, Balotelli has been known to hand wads of cash to homeless people who he encounters, and his charity doesn’t end there. After a night of gambling at a casino in Manchester with Blackburn’s defender, Christopher Samba, he walked out with his winnings of £25,000 and just gave £1,000 to a homeless man. Sources say he is also known for giving £20 to Big Issue boys without taking a magazine.
As well as monetary charity, Balotelli has also improved the life of one Manchester boy, by rescuing him from being bullied. He first met the young lad outside City’s training ground when he asked for an autograph, to which Balotelli asked why he wasn’t in school. After the boy told him he was being bullied at school, he drove him and his mother to the school and wanted to talk to the headmaster and the bully. He made the boy and the bully settle their differences and shake hands, truly earning the nickname, Super Mario.
Balotelli’s portrayal of the Premier League footballer is something new to the followers of the league and everyone has their own opinion on it. However, it seems more and more people seem to be taking a liking to Balotelli and his antics as it is such a breathe of fresh air, showing that footballers aren’t just PR robots. I for one welcome this addition to the Premier League and can’t wait to see what he gets up to next.