Although still only 21, if Mario Balotelli were to retire from football today, his biography would be bigger and more interesting than that of a hundred random world class footballers combined. Balotelli might not be completely sane, but his stunts set him so far apart from the sea of boredom that are most players, that he is in fact, a character to cherish.
Already, it’s becoming a challenge to distinguish facts from fiction with regards to Balotelli anecdotes. Many stories doing the round – that he burnt down his entire own house, that he dressed up as Santa Claus and started handing out money to random people, that he rescued a bullied kid – are either exaggerated or simply made-up.
But there is a whole lot to Balotelli that, astonishingly, ís true. Here then is the sourced, confirmed, end ever growing, Balotelli List.
1 ~ Wearing AC Milan gear as an Inter player
Even when he played at Internazionale, Balotelli made no secret of being a fan of city rivals AC Milan. His Inter-teammate Materazzi revealed that Balotelli once wore AC Milan socks to Inter’s training sessions, which Matterazzi then cut in half. Balotelli also once wore an AC Milan jersey while making an appearence on the Italian TV show Striscia la Notizia.
2 ~ Never missing a penalty
Balotelli has never missed a penalty as a professional player. Manchester City Goalkeeper Joe Hart explained Mario’s secret: “He’s got this mad ability where he doesn’t need to look at the ball. If you don’t move he kicks it in the corner; if you do move he kicks it the other way – it’s almost impossible to stop.” It turns out Balotelli did miss two penalties in a single game, as a 16-year old. His team then somehow won a third penalty kick, Balotelli stepped up to take it, and scored the winner. From that moment on, he never missed another penalty.
3 ~ Humiliating LA Galaxy
In a friendly against LA Galaxy, Balotelli tried to score with a fancy pirouette back-heel. He missed, making both his coach, teammates, opponents, crowd and the American commentators furious. He was immediately substituted by an enraged Mancini.
4 ~ Who’s Wilshere?
After beating Jack Wilshere to the 2010 Golden Boy award, Balotelli claimed he had never heard of Wilshere. “What’s his name? Wil … ? No, I don’t know him, but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him”, Balotelli said. “Perhaps I can show him the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it.” He also stated: “I am delighted to receive the award, but who should have won it but me?
5 ~ Crashing Inter’s press conference
As Inter were presenting their new coach Andrea Stramaccioni to the world, Balotelli, then playing for Manchester City, happened to be around town and entered the press room to greet Inter Milan’s new coach and steal the show.
6 ~ Throwing darts at a youth team player
Even for Balotelli’s standards, this one is a bit much. But it really happened. From a window overlooking Manchester City’s youth pitch, Balotelli was caught throwing darts in the direction of a youth team player. He missed, so the incident didn’t lead to anything serious. Balotelli later explaned that he decided to do it because he was ‘bored’.
7 ~ Setting his bathroom ablaze
Balotelli had a run-in with the emergency services after playing with fireworks. The result? The bathroom of his Cheshire home caught fire. The next day, he scores in the Manchester derby and celebrates by revealing a T-shirt which reads: “Why always me?” A week later, Balotelli was unveiled as Manchester’s ambassador for firework safety.
8 ~ Because he’s Rich
Mario Balotelli was racing around town in his Audi R8 when he crashed into the car of a, as it happens, Manchester City season-ticket holder. The police arrived on the scene, checked his pockets and found 5000 Pounds in cash. They asked Balotelli why he was carrying so much money. Balo’s answer? “Because I’m rich”.
9 ~ “This season I’ve been shit”.
Live on TV after winning the FA Cup final with Man city, Balotelli simply stated:”This season I have been shit. Can I say that?”
10 ~ Winking at Rio Ferdinand
In the midst of a heated Manchester derby, Balotelli expertly trolled Rio Ferdinand by so simple a method as a wink. Rio became furious. Balo stayed calm.
11 ~ Hating on his own fans
During an appearance as a second-half substitute in Inter’s 3-1 Champions League win over Barcelona, Balotelli, after being bood by fans of the Italian side, gestured at them angrily, before throwing his shirt to the floor at full-time. Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic later claimed to have seen Marco Materazzi physically attacking Balotelli in the tunnel.
12 ~ Allergic to Grass
It’s never happened since, but even as an isolated incident, it’s quite hilarious. Balotelli, the professional footballer, had to be substituted during a Europa League game with Manchester City, after apparently showing symptoms of a grass allergy. Quite the handicap.
13 ~ Training Bib failure
Ballotelli’s most famous failure – Not getting his bib on.
14 ~ Turning his garden into a quad track
Mario’s Balotelli house in Manchester once had a large classically English garden. Not quite to Mario’s tastes. So he had all the greenery removed to turn it into a racetrack for quads.
15 ~ Driving into a women’s prison
Whilst the injured Balotelli was driving around Brescia with his 17-year old brother in November 2010, the two brothers developed an instant curiosity for seeing a women’s prison. So they decided to drive to one and have a look inside. Unfortunately for the brothers, they were stopped and interrogated for half an hour by jail officers, and were never allowed to have the tour they were so excited about.
16 ~ Wearing an old Italy shirt
Balotelli likes to do what he wants, regardless of what the rules proscribe. So when the Italian National Team wore their new shirt for the first time during a friendly match, and Balotelli decided that he didn’t like it as much as the previous shirt, he simply changed the new kit for the old one during half-time. The referee only realized this a few minutes into the second half, and forced him to wear the same shirt as his teammates.
17 ~ Shopping for Groceries – returning with a Trampoline
When Balotelli’s mom asked him to purchase some groceries and cleaning materials, Balotelli, like the good son he is, immediately jumped in his sportscar and drove to the nearby mall. Mario, and his posse of friends and brothers, returned home 5 hours later. Without any groceries or gardering materals. However, a short while later, a truck emerged with Balotelli’s new acquisitions. Which included Electric toy cars, a couple of Vespas and a giant Trampoline.
18 ~ He doesn’t love Manchester
During his stat at City, Balotelli openly admitted that he didn’t like the city of Manchester. So when Manchester City players were given I Love MCR shirts to promote the city, Balotelli refused to wear it. He ended up solving the situation by simply drawing the the word City on the shirt.
19 ~ Please Mario…don’t get a second yellow
In an interview with CNN, Jose Mourinho told an anecdote about Balotelli during his period at Inter. Balotelli had grabbed a first yellow. During half-time, Mourinho spent 15 minutes telling Mario not to get a second yellow. The second half began and…(watch the video)
20 ~ Walking into a College because he needed the toilet
The students at Manchester’s Xaverian Sixth Form College received the surprise of the year when they suddenly saw Balotelli walking through the school’s halls. It turned out Balotelli was in the neighbourhood when he needed to visit the toilet, so he parked his Bentley nearby and just walked in “like he owned the place,” high-fiving students. He also had a chat with several teachers, who invited him to enroll in some course – which he refused.
21 ~ More hats than goals
Everytime Balotelli is photographed he’s spotted wearing expensive clothes, a fresh haircut, and often, a new hat. This one seems to take the pick.
22 ~ There’s a reason he doesn’t cheer when he scores
Balotelli rarely if ever celebrates when he scores. He once explained why: “When I score, I don’t celebrate. It’s my job, does a postman celebrate when he delivers post?”
23 ~ Sent off? Nah I’ll just sit on the pitch
Balotelli started the UEFA U21 European Championships as the tournament’s most eye-catching player. In the game against Sweden’s U21, he confirmed his talent by scoring a fantastic 1-0. Perhaps he just doesn’t enjoy the role of hero, because shortly afterwards, Balotelli kicked Sweden’s Pontus Wernbloom after the latter had dispossessed him. Mario was sent off. Or, rather, the referee showed him the red card, and Balotelli, not agreeing with the ref’s decision, decided to just sit on the pitch for at least a minute, before finally getting up and leaving the field.
– Having his friends approach girls in clubs and say “Balotelli will see you now.”
– Throwing tomatoes at a Serie A manager.
– Being Sent off for Italy U21’s and proceeded to sit on the floor ignoring the players, managers and referee.
– Spending the day driving round Manchester with the top down on his car, music blazing and high fiving Manchester City fans after the 6-1 win.
To Be Continued…