Thank God for Mario Balotelli. Despite the negativity I hear and read about the Manchester City and Italian forward, I can’t help but love the guy and I’m not even a City fan. Ok, he may have made a number of mistakes, caused controversy and been a bad boy but let’s remember that he’s only 21 years old, extremely rich for his age and living in a new City and Country.
In a recent interview, he’s stated how he is often misunderstood:
“If I buy a Fiat Uno, I read that a guy like me would be more suited to a Ferrari. If I buy the Ferrari, I read that I should have been more down to earth and bought the Uno.
“If I laugh, I’m not serious; if I don’t laugh, I’m a sulky rich guy who doesn’t enjoy doing the best job in the world.”
He also states that he’s made no friends since his move from Milan, and that he’s found it very hard to adjust to the English lifestyle. Given his track record in Italy, it’s actually a surprise how well Mario has done for City during his time, despite the negative reports, there are just as many positive ones to counter act it.
I’ve seen fans compare him to Gazza, who also enjoyed a prank or two. Whilst I don’t condone setting fireworks off in your bathroom or throwing darts at people, no harm was done and with age, he’ll learn from his mistakes.
However, since when do you hear of well paid footballers donating money to the homeless or solving a child’s bullying problems? There’s certainly two sides to the mercurial talent.
Personally, I think it’s great for football. He’s a talented player and as he gets older, he’ll start to mature on and off the pitch but for now, let’s focus on the positive and help him settle into life in England. It’ll be a shame if he was to leave.
Here’s a list of reported incidents involving Mario Balotelli in a Saint and Sinner list. The Purgatory list at the end is for those I couldn’t work out were good or bad…
I. Gives £1,000 to a homeless man after leaving a Casino
II. Very recently, he was reported to have paid for everyone’s gas/petrol when topping up his own car at a petrol station in Manchester.
III. Donated £200 to local church and paid for £1000 round of drinks in local Pub.
IV. Turned his garden into a racetrack for Quadbikes.
V. After meeting a young City fan who had been bullied, Mario drove the victim and his Mother to the school to meet the Headmaster in order to deal with the matter.
VI. Reportedly dressed as Santa driving around Manchester handing out £20 notes to members of the public.
VII. Also reportedly paid for Homeless people to have a five course meal on Christmas Day, paid for a hotel for homeless people on New Year’s eve and left £10,000 in a toilet on a Manchester to London train.
I. Throwing darts at a youth team player because he was bored.
II. Setting off fireworks in his home.
III. Squaring up to five bouncers after being evicted from a Strip Club. He does not even drink alcohol.
IV. When being interviewed right after a game, he swears on live TV. “My season was s***…”
V. Interviewed by Italian Police after being photographed socialising with Italian Mafia.
VI. Bust up in training with Micah Richards who accused Mario of not trying hard enough.
VII. Tries an outrageous backheel shot in a pre-season friendly in the USA which fails miserably and he’s substituted immediately.
- After City beat United in the FA Cup last season, Mario says something to Rio Ferdinand and Anderson who get angry and a scuffle ensues.
I. Chanting “Rooney” at escort Jenny Thompson who cashed in on the Wayne Rooney story.
II. Apparently sent out by his Mother to buy cleaning products but returned with a giant trampoline, Scalextric, two Vespa scooters and a table tennis set.
III. Was stopped in his car by Police in Manchester who wanted to know why he was carrying £5,000 cash in his glove box, to which he answered “because I am rich”. Fair point.
IV. Competed against a Manchester United fan at an arcade on a Punchball machine. He was supposed to be resting an ankle injury.
V. Scores goal against Norwich City with his shoulder. Some fans loved it, others thought it was disrespectful.
VI. Was accused of entering a Prison in Italy without invitation. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing but it’s certainly bizarre.