Mercurial, controversial, and utterly brilliant, Mario Balotelli at times can make the best defenders look like weekend rec leaguers.
Why he's so special
Practically unmoveable and untouchable when on his game. Balotelli can turn a match with one swift kick of the ball...or a kick at an opposing player.
Spurred Italy to the Euro 2012 final with a brace against favoured Germany in the semis. Many consider that tournament to be Balotelli’s coming-out party.
- Born: Aug. 12, 1990
- Club: AC Milan
- Nickname: Super Mario
He said it
“I am proud to be Italian because I was born in Italy, I grew up in Italy, I went to school in Italy and I have worked in Italy. I'm Italian.”
What they're saying about him
"I don't speak with him every day, otherwise I would need a psychologist, but I speak with him because I don't want him to lose his quality. If Mario is not one of the best players in the world it will be his fault, because he has everything. Mario can be one of the top players in Europe. I don't want him to lose his talent." — Roberto Mancini, former Manchester City manager
When on his game, nobody can contain him, nor take possession away from him. A force in the air and on the ground. Laser beam of a shot gives him a chance to score from anywhere, during open play or with free kicks.
Has a volatile temperament, and his off-field issues have been widely reported. His penchant for lashing out during matches has fans and managers always on edge.
Ooozing with style, Balotelli nearly won GQ’s “Best Dressed Man in Britain” in 2012, losing out to rapper Tinie Tempah.