Mario Balotelli
Italian footballer
Mario Balotelli
Mario Barwuah Balotelli is an Italian footballer who plays as a striker for Milan and the Italian national team. He started his professional football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice before having an unsuccessful trial at FC Barcelona, and subsequently joining Internazionale in 2007. Inter manager Roberto Mancini brought Balotelli into the first team, but when Mancini left, Balotelli's disciplinary record fell away.
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Mario Balotelli not making enough effort at Nice - Valentin Eysseric - ESPN FC
Google News - 8 days
ESPN FC Mario Balotelli not making enough effort at Nice - Valentin Eysseric ESPN FC A late equaliser rescued a draw against Rennes, but Nice fall further behind leaders Monaco with the points dropped. Valentin Eysseric has repeated claims that Mario Balotelli has allowed his head to drop at Nice, and stated the striker needs to make ... Super Mario's World: Balotelli praises Pogba and Mario Balotelli slammed by Nice teammate over poor attitude - 'he wants nothing to do with us' Nice fight back to draw at Rennes but title ambitions fadeDaily Mail SBS - The World Game -beIN SPORTS MENA Breaking News -Goal Ireland -ESPN FC all 24 news articles »
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Surging on the Riviera, With Mario Balotelli in Tow
New York Times - 12 days
The addition of Balotelli has drawn attention to Nice, a French club on the upswing since its president, Jean-Pierre Rivère, took over five years ago.
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New York Times article
Monaco plot Nice revenge in French summit clash
Yahoo News - 19 days
Free-scoring Monaco led by Radamel Falcao and Mario Balotelli's slick Nice side clash at the top of French Ligue 1 this weekend. Early pacesetters Nice have faltered of late allowing Monaco to move top of the table on goal difference on 49 points, with champions Paris Saint-Germain lurking in third on 46 ahead of their trip to Dijon later Saturday. In the reverse fixture Monaco were thrashed 4-0 at Nice in September as a rejuvenated and refocused Balotelli scored twice and the visitors cracked with Lucien Favre's young side running rampant.
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Yahoo News article
Balotelli accuses Bastia fans of racial abuse
Yahoo News - about 1 month
Angry Nice striker Mario Balotelli accused Bastia fans of racially abusing him and screaming monkey chants throughout Friday's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw in Corsica. "Yesterday the result against Bastia was right... We will do more work to try to get our objective. The referee was good too," Balotelli wrote on his Instagram account, alongside the image of a black square.
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Yahoo News article
Mario who? Nice shrug off Balotelli injury
Yahoo News - 4 months
Alassane Plea grabbed a hat-trick as surprise Ligue 1 leaders Nice continued their terrific start to the season with a thrilling 4-2 victory at promoted Metz on Sunday. With Mario Balotelli out injured, Plea assumed the lead role for Lucien Favre's unbeaten side and netted the opener on 12 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after Georges Mandjeck had equalised. Substitute Habib Diallo made it 2-2 midway through the second half for Metz but Plea struck for a third time on 84 minutes before Wylan Cyprien wrapped up the points in injury time.
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Yahoo News article
Roberto Mancini Lifts Lid on Training Ground Spat Which Called Time on Mario Balotelli's City Career
Yahoo News - 4 months
Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has shared details with Sky Sports about the training ground spat that led to Mario Balotelli's exit from the club. Mancini - who has managed Galatasaray and Inter Milan since leaving City - said, "In a training session, I said to players not to make stupid tackles on Gael [Clichy] because he was just coming back from injury. And then, Mario made a strong tackle on him. I was furious. "I grabbed him by the collar wanting to push him but he is so...
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Yahoo News article
Favre keeps Nice grounded despite flying start
Yahoo News - 4 months
Nice coach Lucien Favre urged the surprise Ligue 1 leaders to look no further than Friday's clash against traditional French giants Lyon as they bid to extend their unbeaten start. Nice lead Cote d'Azur rivals Monaco by a point at the top after eight matches, and Favre is counting on his players to resume where they left off prior to the international break. "We're not thinking about that, but just the match and staying focused on it and nothing else," said Favre, who will have Mario Balotelli available after the striker's red card against Lorient was overturned.
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Yahoo News article
Balotelli has red card overturned
Yahoo News - 5 months
Mario Balotelli will be able to play in Nice's next game after a red card he picked up last weekend was overturned on Thursday. The Italian striker was sent off in stoppage time in Nice's 2-1 win over Lorient on Sunday that kept his new club on top of Ligue 1 and unbeaten after eight games.
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Yahoo News article
Mario Balotelli targets Italy recall
Yahoo News - 5 months
Mario Balotelli said he plans an explosive return to the Italy national team in an interview in which he also hit out at former clubs Liverpool and AC Milan. Balotelli has not played for Italy since defeat to Uruguay in the final group match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil sent the Azzurri crashing out of the tournament at the first hurdle. The 26-year-old was not selected for Italy's upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers at home to Spain and away in Macedonia, but on current form a return to Giampiero Ventura's squad cannot be far away.
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Balotelli brace helps send Nice top of Ligue 1
Yahoo News - 5 months
Controversial star Mario Balotelli continued his fine start to life on the French Riviera by helping fire Nice to the top of Ligue 1 on Wednesday. The Italy international scored his second brace in as many league appearances for Nice in a 4-0 thumping of local rivals Monaco to leap-frog champions Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table. The often wayward 26-year-old now has four goals in three games since he joined the Cote d'Azur outfit on a free transfer from Liverpool, where his career had stalled over the last couple of years.
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Yahoo News article
Liverpool move 'worst mistake of my life' - Balotelli
Yahoo News - 5 months
Striker Mario Balotelli described his spell with Liverpool as 'the worst mistake of my life' after he scored twice in his Ligue 1 debut with Nice on Sunday. The 26-year-old former Inter Milan and Manchester City forward helped Nice to a 3-2 win over Olympique Marseille to leave his team second in league standings, behind leaders Monaco on goal difference. Balotelli scored only once in 16 Premier League appearances in his first season at the Merseyside club and was sent back to AC Milan on loan last season in an injury-hit campaign.
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Yahoo News article
Balotelli trying to relaunch turbulent career with Nice
Fox News - 6 months
Mario Balotelli may lose count when he adds up the number of people he has to prove wrong this season.
Article Link:
Fox News article
On Soccer: Trapped in the Premier League’s Golden Cage
NYTimes - 6 months
Deemed surplus by their clubs, players like Mario Balotelli, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Joe Hart find their high salaries are making it hard to move on.
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NYTimes article
Balotelli back but Milan held by Empoli
Yahoo News - about 1 year
Mario Balotelli struggled to make an impact in a second-half substitute's appearance as Empoli dug deep to hold AC Milan 2-2 and dent the Rossoneri's European hopes on Saturday. Milan travelled to the Castellani stadium buoyed after a 2-0 defeat of Fiorentina last week that left Sinisa Mihajlovic's men 12 points behind leaders Napoli and within sight of the European qualifying places.
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Yahoo News article
Balotelli leaves cryptic Euro 2016 message
Yahoo News - about 1 year
Out of favour Italy striker Mario Balotelli left fans and critics guessing about his possible return to the Azzurri squad by leaving a cryptic message on social media on Saturday. "Can't wait," Balotelli wrote on his Instagram account alongside a picture listing Italy with Group B opponents Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland for next summer's 2016 European Championships. It prompted a flurry of reactions from friends and foes alike, with some suggesting the AC Milan striker, who is on loan from Liverpool, would likely to be watching events in France unfold on television.
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Yahoo News article
Milan upbeat after Balotelli groin surgery
Yahoo News - over 1 year
Rome (AFP) - Italy striker Mario Balotelli has undergone successful surgery on a groin injury and may be playing again in as little as four weeks, his club AC Milan said on Wednesday.
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Yahoo News article
Instagram Users Racially Abuse Raheem Sterling And His Adorable Daughter
Huffington Post - over 1 year
A photo posted by Raheem Sterling x (@sterling7) on Nov 1, 2015 at 5:04am PST A happy, beautiful Instagram photo of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling's family has sparked racist reactions on social media from soccer fans, the latest sign of racism's pervasiveness around the English game still today.  The photo, as seen above, was posted on Sunday by Sterling with the caption, "Perfect Sunday's with my niece and my daughter." The day turned sour, however, when Instagram users began chiming in with hateful messages and racial slurs referencing Sterling's skin color. One commenter, taking full advantage of the troubling veil of anonymity available on social media platforms, even wrote "f**k your stupid family hope they burn" on the photo's post, according to The Mirror.  Sterling's discriminatory online incident follows a disturbing trend across English soccer, where fans regularly use social media to direct hate speech at athletes. Anti-discrimination ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mario Balotelli
  • 2016
    After a negative season with Milan, he was left out of Conte's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016.
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    On 29 September, Balotelli scored his fifth goal in just four competitive matches for Nice when he fired home a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area in the 43rd minute after an assist from Malang Sarr in a 2016–17 UEFA Europa League Group I match against Krasnodar in an eventual 5–2 away defeat; his first goal in a UEFA club competition since February 2015, when he scored for Liverpool against Beşiktaş in the round of 32 of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League knockout phase.
    More Details Hide Details On 2 October, Balotelli scored the winning goal in the 86th minute by sending a powerful kick from the edge of the box into the top right corner as Nice defeated Lorient 2–1, in which he received a yellow card for taking off his shirt in celebration of his goal and was subsequently sent off minutes later in stoppage time after receiving a second, controversial yellow card, following an altercation with Lorient's Steven Moreira, where neither player appeared to do anything wrong. Balotelli was unable to answer call-ups to the Italian national under-15 and under-17 teams as he was still considered to be a Ghanaian immigrant.
    On 31 August 2016, the deadline day for the summer transfer window, it was announced that Balotelli had joined OGC Nice on a free transfer, after signing on a one-year deal.
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    Balotelli returned to Liverpool in the summer of 2016, but with no future under new manager Jürgen Klopp, who chose not to include him on Liverpool's pre-season tour to the United States or any of the club's other friendlies.
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    Balotelli finished the season with only one goal in 20 league appearances, as Milan finished the season in seventh place, once again failing to qualify for Europe following their 1–0 defeat to Juventus in the 2016 Coppa Italia final.
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    He returned to action, coming on as a substitute on 17 January 2016 in a 2–0 home win over Fiorentina; before scoring the lone goal from the penalty spot nine days later during the first semi final leg of the Coppa Italia against Alessandria, as he helped Milan reach the final of the tournament.
    More Details Hide Details On 1 May, he had his penalty saved in a 3–3 home draw against Frosinone, for which he was mocked by opponent Mirko Gori.
  • 2015
    On 22 September 2015, Balotelli scored his first goal after returning to Milan on his third appearance to open the scoring in the 5th minute from a free kick at 25 yards out against Udinese in a 3–2 away win.
    More Details Hide Details However, a week later he suffered a groin injury in a 1–0 defeat to Genoa on 27 September, requiring surgery and ruling him out for three months.
    On 27 August 2015, Balotelli returned to A.C. Milan on season-long loan deal.
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    Balotelli's first Premier League goal for Liverpool came on his 13th appearance, on 10 February 2015, an 83rd-minute winner in a 3 - 2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, nine minutes after replacing Daniel Sturridge.
    More Details Hide Details He scored just 4 goals in 28 appearances and at season's end he was adjudged by many to be among the worst signings of the season.
  • 2014
    In an interview leading up to his Nice debut on 11 September, Balotelli told Canal Plus that joining Liverpool in the summer of 2014 was the "worst mistake of his life" and that Brendan Rodgers and Jürgen Klopp (the two Liverpool managers during Balotelli's time at the club) did not make a good impression on him and he did not get along with them.
    More Details Hide Details He made his debut for Nice, starting in a home Ligue 1 match against Marseille, converting a penalty in the 7th minute and scoring a header from Ricardo's cross in the 78th minute as Nice won the match 3–2. On 21 September, Balotelli, in only his second Ligue 1 appearance, struck another double in the 30th and 68th minutes as Nice thrashed Monaco 4–0 in the Azurean derby at the Allianz Riviera to go to the top of Ligue 1. No other player had scored four goals in their first two Ligue 1 matches in the last 25 years.
    On 18 December 2014, he was suspended for one match and fined £25,000 for posting an image on social media which appeared to contain anti-Semitic and racist references.
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    In August 2014, Balotelli joined Liverpool for a fee of £16 million, to replace the outbound Luis Suárez.
    More Details Hide Details He made his Liverpool debut in a league game away to Tottenham Hotspur on the 31st of August, a game Liverpool won 3–0. Balotelli scored his first Liverpool goal on 16 September, opening a 2 - 1 Anfield victory against Ludogorets Razgrad in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. In a match in the same competition on 22 October against Real Madrid, Balotelli was criticised by manager Brendan Rodgers for swapping shirts with opponent Pepe at half time, saying "It's something that doesn't happen here and shouldn't happen here."
    On 1 June 2014, Balotelli was selected in Italy's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
    More Details Hide Details In Italy's opening match of the tournament, he scored the team's winning goal in a 2–1 defeat of England on 14 June. After the match against England, Balotelli says playing in the World Cup for the first time was "a wonderful sensation to experience" and dedicated the goal to his future wife. Italy lost their next two matches, however, and were eliminated in the first round, finishing third in their group, while Prandelli stepped down from his position as Italy's manager. Under Italy's new manager Antonio Conte, Balotelli only received one call-up in November 2014, but was unable to make a single appearance for Italy due to injury.
  • 2013
    In March 2013, Balotelli became engaged to wed his Belgian girlfriend, Fanny Neguesha. They split in September 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Inter Milan Manchester City
    On 22 September 2013, Balotelli missed a penalty in a competitive match for the first time in 22 attempts as a professional; the kick was saved by Pepe Reina as Milan lost 2–1 to Napoli.
    More Details Hide Details During a match against Catania on 1 December, Balotelli accused opponent Nicolás Spolli of racially abusing him, but there was insufficient evidence for any action to be taken. The following week, Balotelli scored two goals in a 2–2 draw with Livorno, including a sensational 30-yard direct free kick that was clocked at a speed of 109 km/h.
    On the final day of the season, Balotelli scored his twelfth goal in thirteen games for Milan as the team beat Siena to qualify for the 2013–14 Champions League.
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    On 3 February 2013, Balotelli made his debut for Milan and scored two goals, including a last minute penalty to earn a 2–1 victory over Udinese.
    More Details Hide Details The win lifted Milan to fourth in the table, ahead of Inter Milan on goal difference. In the next two matches, Balotelli scored two goals, including free-kick against Parma. With that goal, he equaled Oliver Bierhoff's record of four goals in first three matches for Milan. In his fifth appearance Balotelli appeared as a substitute against Genoa and scored his fifth goal for his new club. In the match against Palermo, Balotelli continued his impressive scoring streak with two more goals, one from a penalty and another from an M'Baye Niang cross.
    It was stated that Silvio Berlusconi's signing of Balotelli would help him gain extra votes in the 2013 Italian general election.
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    On 31 January 2013, the Serie A giants completed the signing, and Balotelli was awarded the number 45 shirt, the same number he wore for Inter Milan and Manchester City.
    More Details Hide Details Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, said "Balotelli in Rossoneri is a dream that has been realized. It is a transfer that everyone wanted: club, president and fans." Balotelli received a warm reception when he returned to Milan. His arrival saw some fans scuffling with police and one policeman was taken to hospital with head injuries.
    On 29 January 2013, A.C. Milan's organising director Umberto Gandini announced that the team had agreed a deal to sign Balotelli from Manchester City on a four-and-a-half year deal rumoured to be worth €20 million plus bonuses and add-ons.
    More Details Hide Details Manchester City's then manager Roberto Mancini suggested he had sanctioned Balotelli's sale to Milan for the good of the player, describing the forward as "like another one of my children" and saying Balotelli could become one of the best players in the world when restored to Serie A.
  • 2012
    In July 2012, Balotelli's former girlfriend Raffaella Fico claimed that she was pregnant with his child, while Balotelli responded by claiming that he would only assume paternal responsibilities upon a positive paternity test.
    More Details Hide Details Fico's daughter Pia was born on 5 December 2012. Later in December 2012, Fico accused Balotelli of being "irresponsible" and "not interested" in her newborn daughter. In response, Balotelli threatened to take legal action against Fico to defend his reputation against what he considered false accusations. In February 2014, Balotelli finally acknowledged paternity of his daughter Pia following a positive DNA test.
    At first, he stayed at the Balotellis during the weekdays, and returned to his biological parents on weekends. He later was permanently fostered by the Balotellis full-time, and adopted their surname. In June 2012, he dedicated his goals that put Italy in the final of the Euro 2012 football championships to his foster mother Silvia.
    More Details Hide Details Balotelli had to wait until his 18th birthday to request Italian citizenship, as his foster family had not adopted him. He officially gained citizenship in Concesio on 13 August 2008. After the ceremony he released the following statement: Mario has three biological siblings: Abigail, Enoch, and Angel Barwuah. Enoch Barwuah, two years younger than Balotelli, is also a professional footballer.
    In December 2012, Balotelli decided to fight against Manchester City's decision to fine him two weeks' wages for his poor disciplinary record the previous season by taking his club to a Premier League tribunal.
    More Details Hide Details Balotelli missed 11 games domestically and in Europe last season because of suspensions. With less than a day remaining to the start of the hearing, Balotelli dropped his tribunal action and accepted the fine. They are the best, they were great with me and I will always have a very special place in my heart for City, it's a great club with a great future." "I spoke with Roberto before I went to speak to the players. We spoke for some time about lots of things. He was sad, and I was too. But it was a good conversation.
    On 8 April 2012, Balotelli received his fourth red card of the season, after receiving his second yellow card during the match for a tackle against Bacary Sagna during City's 1–0 loss to Arsenal in April 2012.
    More Details Hide Details He was banned for three games (one for the two yellow cards and two for the previous two red cards in the same season). After the Arsenal match, Mancini appeared to have finally lost his patience with Balotelli, suggesting that Balotelli would not play any part in the remainder of City's season and be sold by the club. Despite this, Balotelli did make an appearance as a late substitute in the last game of the season, a title-deciding match against Queens Park Rangers. Balotelli provided the assist to striker Sergio Agüero, who scored in the 94th minute to give City their first league title since 1968.
    Balotelli subsequently scored his first goal of 2012, an injury-time penalty which secured a 3–2 win for City.
    More Details Hide Details He was charged for violent conduct for the kick against Scott Parker and was suspended for four matches, three for violent conduct and one for his second sending off. On 25 February, he scored his tenth league goal of the season in a 3–0 home win against Blackburn Rovers. He scored again the following game in a 2–0 win against Bolton Wanderers. On 31 March, Balotelli scored twice as City drew 3–3 at home against Sunderland. However, Balotelli was criticized for his actions in the match after squabbling with Aleksandar Kolarov over a free kick. Roberto Mancini claimed after the game that he had considered substituting Balotelli just five minutes into the match.
    On 22 January 2012, Balotelli came on as a substitute during a match against Tottenham Hotspur.
    More Details Hide Details He appeared to stamp on Scott Parker during the match against Tottenham, but, already booked, did not get a second yellow from referee Howard Webb, who did not see the incident.
  • 2011
    Balotelli made his Champions League debut for City on 2 November 2011, in the second leg against Villarreal.
    More Details Hide Details He scored on a penalty shot near the end of the first half, his first Champions League goal for City and his seventh goal overall in the season. On 27 November, Balotelli came on as a 65th-minute substitute against Liverpool and was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. Balotelli scored using his right shoulder in City's 5–1 win over Norwich City on 3 December. He put City 1–0 up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after just two minutes on 12 December, although Chelsea rallied to win 2–1.
    Balotelli scored the opening two goals and forced the dismissal of Jonny Evans as City beat Manchester United 6–1 at Old Trafford on 23 October 2011 in what would prove to be a decisive game in helping win Manchester City the league title.
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    On 1 October 2011 he scored his third goal in as many games in a 4–0 win away to Blackburn Rovers.
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    Balotelli scored his first goal of the 2011–12 campaign in a 2–0 League Cup win against Birmingham City.
    More Details Hide Details He followed this up with the opening goal against Everton three days later.
    On 14 May 2011 Balotelli was man of the match in the 2011 FA Cup Final as Manchester City defeated Stoke City 1–0 to win their first trophy in thirty-five years.
    More Details Hide Details He's Mario.
    Despite this success Balotelli still had disciplinary problems, and in March 2011 he was sent off in the second-leg of Manchester City's Europa League draw with Dynamo Kyiv.
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  • 2010
    On 28 December 2010 Balotelli scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4–0 win over Aston Villa.
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    On 21 December 2010 Balotelli won the Golden Boy Award, saying that only one of the past winners was slightly better than he was – Lionel Messi.
    More Details Hide Details He also claimed not to know of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, the player he narrowly beat to the award.
    On 19 August 2010 Balotelli came on as a substitute to score in his debut against Politehnica Timișoara in a 1–0 away win in the Europa League, but during the match injured the lateral meniscus in his right knee and on 8 September underwent surgery that sidelined him until October.
    More Details Hide Details Balotelli eventually made his Premier League debut on 24 October as a substitute in a 3–0 home defeat to Arsenal and made his first Premier League on 30 October in a 2–1 away defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Balotelli scored his first and second Premier League goals on 7 November in a 2–0 away win to West Brom. In the same game Balotelli received a red card for violent conduct as the result of a clash with Youssuf Mulumbu, which his manager Roberto Mancini described as unfair. Balotelli scored the first two of City's three goals in the 3–0 win over FC Red Bull Salzburg in Manchester City's Europa League group stage match.
    After weeks of speculation, Inter reached an agreement for Balotelli's transfer to Manchester City on 12 August 2010 for €21.8 million.
    More Details Hide Details At Manchester City Balotelli reunited with his former boss, Roberto Mancini, who said, "His style of play will suit the Premier League, and because he is still so young there is a big chance for him to improve. He is a strong and exciting player, and City fans will enjoy watching him." Balotelli exchanged squad number with teammate Greg Cunningham so that he could continue to wear the number 45 shirt.
    Amid these controversies with his club and manager, many Premier League teams, including Manchester United and Manchester City, indicated that they were interested in signing Balotelli in July 2010.
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    He again caused controversy in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona on 20 April 2010 as he threw his jersey on the ground after the final whistle, in response to Inter fans who had booed him for his poor performance.
    More Details Hide Details He admitted three years later that the incident was the only regret in his life. Disgruntled fans confronted and tried to attack Balotelli after the game. His behavior on the pitch brought disapproval from his teammates, with Zanetti publicly saying "Mario needs to focus on doing what he can do on the pitch, he can't allow himself to behave like this."
    After a falling-out with Mourinho, Balotelli was recalled for Inter's April 2010 match against Bologna, and he marked his return with a goal in their 3–0 win.
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    In March 2010 he came under heavy criticism from fans after he publicly sported an A.C. Milan (Inter's cross-town rivals) jersey on the Italian show Striscia la Notizia.
    More Details Hide Details Balotelli released a statement of apology in Inter's's official website that read:
  • 2009
    I remember one time when we went to play Kazan in the 2009–10 Champions League.
    More Details Hide Details In that match I had all my strikers injured... I was really in trouble and Mario was the only one. Mario got a yellow card in the 42nd 20th minute, so when I got to the dressing room at half-time I spend about 14 minutes of the 15 available speaking only to Mario. I said to him: 'Mario, I cannot change you, I have no strikers on the bench, so don’t touch anybody and play only with the ball. If we lose the ball no reaction. If someone provokes you, no reaction, if the referee makes a mistake, no reaction.' He was once described by Jose Mourinho as "unmanageable." In June 2010, Balotelli and a group of friends fired air pistols in the open in Milan's Piazza della Repubblica. Although denying that he is "crazy" as his mentor Roberto Mancini frequently claims, Balotelli has admitted that he "sometimes does strange things". In 2010, he was photographed in the company of two noted Mafia mobsters. Since joining Manchester City, Balotelli has gained a cult following. Manchester City supporters regularly sang a song with lyrics which made reference to his activities. Musician Tinchy Stryder recorded a song in Balotelli's honour, Mario Balotelli.
    Balotelli was named in the final 23-man squad for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championships and scored the opening goal against the hosts Sweden in the 23rd minute.
    More Details Hide Details Barely 15 minutes later he was shown a red card for retaliating against a Swedish midfielder Pontus Wernbloom. Italy were eliminated by eventual champions Germany in the semi-finals, following a 1-0 defeat. On 10 August 2010, Balotelli made his first appearance for the Italian senior team, as part of the squad announced by new head coach Cesare Prandelli, in a friendly match against Côte d'Ivoire – Italy's first match after the 2010 World Cup. In that match he started alongside debutant Amauri and striker Antonio Cassano in a 1–0 loss. On 11 November 2011, Balotelli scored his first senior international goal in a 2–0 win against Poland at Stadion Miejski in Wrocław, Poland, also setting up Italy's second goal of the match. Before the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, Balotelli was interviewed by a newspaper about racism amongst fans in the host countries. During the interview, Balotelli reiterated his threat to walk off the pitch if any of the opposition fans racially abused him in any way, and said that he would 'kill' anyone that threw a banana at him. He spoke about his increasing fears that black players would be targeted by racists and that he refused to accept racism in any form, talking of his past experience of racism in football notably during his time playing in Serie A for Inter Milan. During the build-up to the competition Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini had repeatedly defended Balotelli, but he and footballer Daniele De Rossi believed that Mario would need to grow up and mature if he was going to become the centrepiece of future Italian success.
    In an April 2009 match with Juventus where he scored Inter's only goal in a 1–1 draw, Balotelli was racially abused by Juventus fans throughout the game.
    More Details Hide Details This led Inter owner Massimo Moratti to say that he would have pulled the team off the pitch had he been present. The racist chants were also condemned by Juventus chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli and Juventus were given a one-game home-fan ban because of the incident. Inter won Serie A for the fourth time in a row.
    Balotelli had another negative encounter with Juventus fans in the heated Derby d'Italia encounter in an away match against Juventus on 5 December 2009, which Inter lost 2–1.
    More Details Hide Details When he was elbowed by Juventus midfielder Felipe Melo in the shoulder, Balotelli fell theatrically onto the pitch, for which he was booked, while Melo was sent off for a second yellow card. The incident sparked an altercation between Balotelli's teammate Thiago Motta and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The tension between Balotelli and Mourinho reached its peak on the eve of the UEFA Champions League second leg against Chelsea after the young striker was not called-up, following an altercation with his manager. Despite Inter's 1–0 win at Stamford Bridge, London, Balotelli was criticized by several senior players including captain Javier Zanetti and veteran defender Marco Materazzi, as well as by his own agent.
    Balotelli's disciplinary problems, and his difficult relationship with Mourinho, continued in the 2009–10 season.
    More Details Hide Details In November Inter drew 1–1 against Roma and Mourinho criticized his players, even going as far as saying that Balotelli "came close to a zero rating".
    In his second season with Inter, Balotelli had a number of disciplinary problems, most notably involving head coach José Mourinho who excluded him from the first team in the second half of January 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Earlier that season Mourinho had accused Balotelli of showing a lack of effort in training, stating "as far as I'm concerned, a young boy like him cannot allow himself to train less than people like Figo, Córdoba, and Zanetti." Balotelli continued to be the subject of racist chants throughout the season, becoming the focus of Juventus fans even during games not involving Inter, leading to Juventus being fined twice and the club ultimately punished with a partial stadium closure.
    He had a strained relationship with new manager José Mourinho and was suspended from Inter's first team in January 2009 after a number of disciplinary problems.
    More Details Hide Details With doubts over his career at Inter, former coach Roberto Mancini had since moved to Manchester City and decided to give Balotelli a fresh chance at a new club. He joined Manchester City in August 2010, where his performances and off-field activities continued to be enigmatic and unpredictable. Balotelli eventually fell out of favour with Mancini after a "training ground bust up" between the two in January 2013. His departure from City and return to Italy with A.C. Milan followed several weeks later. After 18 months at Milan, he returned to the Premier League with Liverpool. An unsuccessful season with the Merseyside club led to his return to Milan on loan and subsequent departure on a free transfer to Nice. Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in a friendly match against the Ivory Coast on 10 August 2010. He has since amassed over 30 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2012, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup; he helped the national side reach the final of Euro 2012, and also won a bronze medal at the Confederations Cup. Along with Antonio Cassano, he is Italy's top-scorer in the UEFA European Championships, with 3 goals. He is also Italy's top scorer in the FIFA Confederations Cup, alongside Giuseppe Rossi and Daniele De Rossi, with two goals.
  • 2008
    In his debut on 5 September 2008 he scored his first international goal in a 1–1 draw with the Greek U-21's.
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    In November 2008, Balotelli became the youngest Inter player (at 18 years and 85 days) to score in the Champions League when he scored a goal in a 3–3 draw against Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta, beating the previous record set by Obafemi Martins (at 18 years and 145 days).
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    Balotelli was a substitute in the 2008 Supercoppa Italiana final against Roma.
    More Details Hide Details He came on as a replacement for Luís Figo, scoring in the 83rd minute. Inter went on to win the final 6–5 on penalties after the match ended 2–2.
    His first Serie A goal then came in April 2008 in a 2–0 away win against Atalanta.
    More Details Hide Details Inter went on to win the 2007–08 Serie A.
  • 2007
    He made his first team and Serie A debut on 16 December 2007, replacing David Suazo in a 2–0 win against Cagliari.
    More Details Hide Details Three days later he was featured in the starting lineup in a Coppa Italia match against Reggina, scoring two goals in a 4–1 win. Balotelli gained national attention after he scored two goals against Juventus in the return leg of the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, being instrumental in a 3–2 away win for Inter.
    On 8 November 2007, as part of Sheffield F.C.'s 150th anniversary celebrations, Balotelli featured in a friendly between the two sides at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane.
    More Details Hide Details The game finished 5–2 to Inter, with Balotelli scoring twice.
    On 7 August 2007, five days before his seventeenth birthday, Balotelli received his first senior International call-up for Ghana from their coach Claude Le Roy for a friendly against Senegal at the New Den stadium in London, England, on 21 August 2007.
    More Details Hide Details He declined the offer citing once again his willingness to play for Italy when he became eligible. He also stated his willingness to represent Italy at international level once he acquired an Italian passport. Italy U-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi stated his intention to call up Balotelli once he obtained Italian citizenship. On 13 August 2008 Balotelli was finally given Italian citizenship. Casiraghi called him to join the Italy national under-21 football team Azzurrini on 29 August for the matches against Greece and Croatia.
  • 2006
    Having had an unsuccessful trial with Barcelona at the age of 15, Balotelli was signed by Inter in 2006 on loan with a pre-set price of €150,000 to co-own the player.
    More Details Hide Details In June 2007 Inter exercised the option and purchased another half for additional €190,000.
    Balotelli began his career at Lumezzane. At the age of 15 he was promoted to the first team, making his first team debut in a Serie C1 league match against Padova on 2 April 2006.
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  • 1993
    In 1993, when he was three, Balotelli was placed in foster care to the Balotelli family when his own family was unable to pay for his health care needs.
    More Details Hide Details His foster parents are Silvia, the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors, and Francesco Balotelli. They lived in the town of Concesio, Brescia, in northern Italy.
  • 1990
    Born on August 12, 1990.
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