Mario Balotelli is nicknamed “Super Mario” and with good reason. The 24-year old plies his trade for AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A and has played for Internazionale and Manchester City in a hitherto very colourful career. The Italian was born Mario Barwuah Balotelli in Palermo on the 12th of August 1990.
Balotelli has been at the receiving end of racial abuse several times in his career. Thankfully, competence is not racial as he manages to soldier on and do what he knows best – score goals. Super Mario’s presence on the field speaks volumes. The world came to notice him during his time in the widely broadcast English Premier League playing for Man City, where he won the league, FA Cup and scored crucial goals in the process; including a brace in their 6-1 victory over rivals Manchester United.
The AC Milan striker is among the most complete strikers in the world, a status that gives him front page appearances week in and week out. However his face has appeared on the front page for the wrong reasons as well too many times for comfort, causing critics to throw punches at him. He always seems to respond with a goal though.
The 24-year old’s disciplinary problems have seen him suspended from the first team of Inter Milan by then coach Jose Mourinho. In March 2010 he was the most hated Inter player by its fans as he appeared on a TV show wearing a rival’s jersey. All in all it is safe to say despite all the off pitch incidents, his career has been great.
At national level he helped his side to a silver medal at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine and has represented the Azzurri at under 21 level previously too. Come the FIFA World Cup™ the Italian will be expected to propel his side to greater heights compared to their disappointing group stage exit in South Africa. Hate him or love him, the fact that his name can be mentioned in the same breath as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi cannot be ignored and Italy boss Cesare Prandelli knows it.
If the Italians are to enjoy a better campaign than four years ago, then their plan will surely involve the the former Manchester City target man. It is Balotelli’s goals that could fire Italy to a fifth World Cup title.