Fireworks, car crashes, guns and darts: 23 madcap moments from Mario Balotelli
Published 21/08/2014 | 10:37
Why always him? Italian misfit Mario Balotelli is finally ending his Liverpool nightmare with a loan move back to AC Milan. Here, we take a look at some of his on and off-field incidents during his time in football.
1) CAR CRASH (August 2010)
Just days after signing for City, Balotelli hits the headlines after crashing his Audi R8 en route to the club's training ground. Balotelli is found to be carrying £5,000 in cash at the time of the accident and when police ask why, he reportedly replies: "Because I am rich."
2) FIRST RED CARD (November 2010)
Balotelli scores his first Premier League goals in a 2-0 win at West Brom but the achievement is marred when he is sent off following a clash with Youssouf Mulumbu.
3) WILSHERE SNUB (December 2010)
City boss Roberto Mancini says Balotelli must change his attitude following his claims he had never heard of Jack Wilshere after beating the Arsenal midfielder to FIFA's Young Player of the Year award.
4) DART-THROWING INCIDENT (March 2011)
Balotelli again hits trouble after it emerges he threw a dart at a City youth team player. No one was hurt in the incident and he escapes punishment.
5) SECOND RED CARD (March 2011)
Balotelli apologises to his team-mates after he is sent off during a Europa League tie with Dynamo Kiev for a reckless challenge on Goran Popov.
6) BACK-HEEL BLUNDER (July 2011)
Balotelli is immediately substituted by an enraged Mancini after performing a pirouette and back-heeling wide when clean through on goal in a pre-season friendly against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
7) FIREWORK INCIDENT (October 2011)
The Italian has another run-in with the emergency services after a firework is set off in the bathroom of his home, triggering a fire. The next day, he scores in the Manchester derby and celebrates by revealing a T-shirt which reads: "Why always me?"
8) THIRD RED CARD (November 2011)
The third red card of Balotelli's City career arrives in a league match against Liverpool, the 21-year-old dismissed for two yellow cards.
9) BREAKING CURFEW (December 2011)
Balotelli breaks a club 48-hour curfew by visiting a curry house ahead of a match against Chelsea.
10) RICHARDS CLASH (December 2011)
Just days after Balotelli's curfew lapse, he again attracts negative headlines after pictures emerge of a training-ground bust-up with team-mate Micah Richards.
11) PARKER CLASH (January 2012)
Balotelli is charged with violent conduct by the Football Association, and subsequently handed a four-match ban, after appearing to stamp on the head of Tottenham's Scott Parker during a Premier League match.
12) INTER PRESS CONFERENCE (March 2012)
Balotelli gatecrashes the press conference to announce the appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni as Inter Milan's new coach.
13) FOURTH RED CARD (April 2012)
Balotelli is sent off for two bookable challenges on Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna. Also guilty of a shocking knee-high challenge on Gunners midfielder Alex Song.
14) CLASH WITH MANCINI (January 2013)
Balotelli clashes with Mancini during training with the pair pulled apart by coaches.
15) TRAIN SMOKING (April 2013)
Balotelli was fined for smoking in a train toilet. He was caught smoking by a ticket collector while travelling with his AC Milan teammates on a high speed train to Florence for yesterday's match against Fiorentina.
16) BALOTELLI AND THE POPE (August 2013)
Balotelli, who had been the victim of racist abuse, was the only player to get private time with the pope. Pope Francis and the striker spoke together in a small room off the sumptuous Clementine Hall where the audience with a number of other footballers was held.
17) MAFIA TWEET (October 2013)
Balotelli provoked a storm by appearing to distance himself from an anti-mafia campaign involving a charity match in a ground sequestered from the Camorra, the notorious Naples crime syndicate. The popular sports daily 'La Gazzetta dello Sport' suggested the 23-year-old was keen to appear at La Nuova Quarto Calcio club, in order to publicly endorse the fight against the mafia. But on his Twitter account Balotelli rebutted the article. "This is what you say!" he said. "I'm coming because soccer is wonderful and everyone must (be able to) play it".
18) THIS IS THE END TWEET (November 2013)
Mario Balotelli confounded his twitter followers again by tweeting "this is the end" hours after missing a penalty in AC Milan's 1-1 draw against Genoa. Six hours later he sent out another tweet in Italian which read: "Forza Milan comunque e sempre." ('Go on Milan, no matter how and forever').
19) TV OUTBURST (April 2014)
Mario Balotelli lost his temper and delivered an astonishing outburst aimed at the Italian TV pundit Zvonimir Boban after AC Milan’s 2-0 defeat by Roma last season. The striker, who has been repeatedly criticised by Boban on Sky Italia this season, could not contain his frustration when given the right to reply during a post-match interview. “You always talk about me,” said Balotelli. “When Milan win Mario’s great, but when Milan lose it’s all Mario’s fault. I don’t need your criticism, I criticise myself.”
20) ENGAGED (June 2014)
Italy striker Mario Balotelli took a break from his World Cup preparations to propose to his girlfriend Fanny Neguesha... and she said yes.
21) I CALL SHOTGUN (July 2014)
The Italian striker managed to raise eyebrows again after he posted an image, in which he appears to be posing with a shotgun, onto his Instagram account.
22) PITCH INVADER SELFIE (July 2014)
Mario Balotelli may have been on the losing end of a 5-1 mauling as Manchester City sent out a title warning to their Premier League rivals with a comprehensive victory over AC Milan, but that didn’t stop two fans invading the pitch to get a snap with their hero.
23) MARIO BALOTELLI GIVE UNITED FANS THE FINGER
Mario Balotelli appears to give the finger to the travelling Manchester United fans after Liverpool's defeat at Anfield in March.