Mario Balotelli: Mad genius? Spoilt rich kid? Big softy?
We look at the star’s brightest moments in the spotlight on and off the pitch.
JOHANNESBURG - He's back! Mario Balotelli looks certain to return to the English Premiership in a €20 million deal between Liverpool, AC Milan and the talented Italian strike. The Reds hope the colourful 24-year-old sensation will fill the hole left by Luis Suarez, another spectacularly talented but troubled striker.
Suarez left Anfield in an €81 million deal with Barcelona.
The question all Premier League fans will want to know is, how will Balotelli make the headlines - for his spectacular goals or mad moments off the pitch? We'll have to wait to find out but in the meanwhile let's look back at the star's more bizarre moments in the spotlight, both on and off the pitch.
10. "Why always me?"
Balotelli, playing for Manchester City against bitter cross-town rivals Manchester United in 2011, had just scored a goal when he turned towards the crowd and the cameras before flipping his jersey to reveal the words "Why always me?" on the T-shirt he was wearing underneath. He said that he had done it for many reasons but wouldn't elaborate any further. And that, Mario, is why we think it's always you. Just explain yourself man.
9. My allergies are killing
Remember that time he had to leave the pitch due to his allergies flaring up?
And then it turned out he actually has grass allergies. Wait, rewind. A professional soccer player with grass allergies. What more can be said about this. Why is it always Mario?
8. Fireworks are fun - just not inside a house
What about that time he and his friends set off fireworks in his bathroom and his house was on fire? Didn't he have a match to play against Man Utd the next day? Oh well, boys will be boys.
7. Making it rain
He's got an unorthodox approach to philanthropy, does our Mario. It would be safe to assume that he doesn't believe in the "Teach a man to fish and he'll eat forever" proverb. After winning $25,000 at a casino, he once gave $1,000 to a homeless guy on the streets. Let's hope the homeless man isn't homeless anymore.
6. Stay in school kids
Mario made a video of himself listening to Biggie, ironing his shirt and reading Zlatan Ibrahimovic's autobiography I Am_ Zlatan_. He posted this video to his Instagram with the caption #KnowledgeIsPower reading books is cool #StayInSchoolKids.
5. Get out of jail free card
So it turns that Balotelli just happens to be a really inquisitive chap. Like this one time he was like curious about like female prisoners and stuff. And like totally decided to take a drive into a women's prison to like check it out or like whatever! And the police didn't like that and arrested him. His response was "I was curious". Well in that case, oh all right then.
4. I did it my way
He gets confused easily this man. Once during Italy's 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, he decided to start the second half wearing the Azzurri's old shirt instead of their new kit which was unveiled before the match. Are you still asking "Why always me?".
3. You big baby
There's just some things that can't be explained and should rather be watched. Why can't this man put on his practice bib? Like come on guy.
2. "I'm rich"
If there was ever a time to stick it to the man, Mario picked it well. While driving around in his Maserati he was stopped by police, and for good reason; he was asked why he had €25,000 just sitting on the passenger's seat. Now let's give credit where it's due... instead of the stock "Why? Is it because I'm black?" response, Balotelli quite accurately told the uniforms "I'm rich."
1. Super Mario saves the day
The best moment has to be when he went to sign a kid's autograph and asked him why he wasn't in school. The child told him that he was getting bullied and Mario took it upon himself to drive both the child and his mother to his school and give the bully a talking to. He further took it upon himself to talk to the school's headmaster about the issue. This is why Mario, whether it's good or bad, it's always you.