The story of Mario Balotelli… so far – why always him?

August 12th 1


990 – Mario Barwuah was born in Palermo

1993 – Mario was fostered by the Balotellis before being permanently adopted

2001 – Mario joined A.C. Lumezzane

2005 – Mario became the youngest player to play in Italy’s third division

2006 – Mario had an unsuccessful trial with Barcelona then signed for Inter Milan

March 22nd 2008 – Carrado Botelli, brother and then agent
“We can’t continue like this. Mario deserves to play but he doesn’t. We’ve had contact with a few big Spanish and English sides and we will evaluate their offers seriously. Surely Mario will undertake a foreign experience, but it remains to be seen when.”

May 18th 2008 – Balotelli wins his first Serie A title with Inter Milan

June 3rd 2008 – Balotelli
“I don’t know if I will stay at Inter. For the moment I am only thinking about the youth team. I think I will stay but I have no certainties. I’m calm.”

June 20th 2008 – Balotelli signs a new five year deal with Inter

August 28th 2008 – Balotelli wins the Supercoppa Italiana after scoring in Inter Milan’s 2-2 draw with Roma. He also scores in the penalty shoot out.

September 6th 2008 – Marcello Lippi, then manager of Italy
“Is he ready for the national team? In my view no. We live in an era where everything is rushed too quickly; in fact, we’d do well to stop calling him ‘Super Mario’ or ‘phenomenon’ as we risk ruining the player.”

January 12th 2009 – Jose Mourinho, then manager of Inter
“Nothing has changed since the last time I called up a squad. His way of working is the same, his joy, or lack of joy, is the same, his attitude is the same. The only thing that has changed is that his brother has made it clear that Mario is thinking about being loaned out. We’ll wait until the closure of the transfer market at the end of January, when he realises he’s staying here. At that point there’ll be no alternative to concentrating on his work with Inter. Maybe then his attitude will change, maybe he will return to the squad, but at the moment he does not seem to be in the condition to play.”

April 20th 2009 – Juventus have been ordered to play a home game behind closed doors by the Italian league. They have been punished after sections of their supporters racially abused visiting striker Mario Balotelli during Saturday’s 1-1 Serie A draw with Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico.

May 16th 2009 – Balotelli wins his second Serie A title with Inter Milan

June 27th 2009 – Kwesi Nyantekyie, Ghana FA president
“We won’t give up on Balotelli now because if we have somebody like him our team he would be a huge addition. He’s such a fine player and on a regular basis we’ll seek to convince him that Ghana offers him better prospects at international level than Italy does.”

July 20th 2009 – Gianfranco Zola, then manager of West Ham
“I have done everything I can to sign Mario. It would be in both our interests if he came to West Ham. There’s no place for him at Inter and he’s a natural talent. He is extroverted and knows his attitude can upset people, but he’s intelligent and still learning to handle situations.”

September 6th 2009 – Arsene Wenger
“I consider Inter an excellent squad who can do really well in the Champions League. In particular I am keeping an eye out for Balotelli, a player I like very much. In my view he can be one of the best.”

October 1st 2009 – Balotelli after being sent off in a 0-0 draw against Rubin Kazan
“Dear Nerazzurri supporters, you must excuse me for the red card suffered in the Champions League. Unfortunately I made two mistakes and I paid hard. I hope to have a positive return and will continue to do my best with complete professionalism.”

November 24th 2009 – The Italian league fines Juventus €20,000 after fans continually chanted an offensive song about Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli. Juve have been punished after followers of the club sang abuse in the direction of the Inter player during Sunday’s 1-0 Serie A victory over Udinese.

December 3rd 2009 – Carlo Ancelotti, then manager of Chelsea
“I’d take a player like Balotelli. I like him and with me he would always play. But I don’t know how easy he is to handle. If he is really undisciplined, Mourinho is right to punish him. But I hope he doesn’t waste his talent.”

January 6th 2010 – Balotelli after receiving racist abuse from Chievo fans
“I just want to say one thing. Every time I come to Verona I realise that the supporters disgust me more and more. It’s completely unacceptable.”

March 17th 2010 – Massimo Moratti, Inter president, after Balotelli was left out of the squad again following a fall out with Mourinho
“Mourinho made the right decision and if he made the right decision it means that the others aren’t doing their best for the club. Balotelli has the talent and ability to be a serious professional. He will show us this and then we will all be at peace again.”

April 1st 2010 – Balotelli
“I apologise for the situation that has been created in recent times. I am the first to suffer because I adore playing football and I would like to play. Now I will wait silently in order to return and be useful to the team. I would like to think about the future and not about the past.”

April 20th 2010 – After coming off the bench in Inter’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona, Balotelli was jeered by the home support due to his performance, which lead him to throw his shirt on the floor.

“I’m disappointed with the way the fans treated Balotelli but I understand their reaction because they saw the same things I did,” said Mourinho. “They saw a team dead on its feet, Milito left the field with cramp, Pandev left the field with cramp. I put Chivu on and he gave his all, I put Stankovic on and he gave his all. Then Mario with this attitude, and all of you (the press), or almost all of you, say it’s normal but then there’s this idiot coach who says it isn’t normal. It’s the second most important match in football (after the final) and everyone goes off dead, but one player could have done more to help his team which was struggling, had lost Maicon and was under intense pressure from Barcelona. We all wanted more from him, then they whistled him and he did this with the shirt. He needs to show that he wants to be with us and has understood how to play football and that he should leave the pitch dead. Of course he’s not going home dead because he didn’t run much.”

“What do I think of Balotelli, how much time have you got? You need to see what is in his head, he’s like a child,” said team mate Stankovic.

“Mario needs to concentrate on doing what he can do on the pitch, he can’t allow himself to behave in this way,” said team mate Zanetti.

“Balotelli’s gesture was terrible. Just terrible,” said Inter general manager Ernesto Paolillo . “It is something we are going to have to discuss. Will he be punished? Absolutely, yes.”

April 23rd 2010 – Balotelli
“I apologise to everyone for my gesture on Tuesday evening. When I entered the ground and I heard the crowd whistle and the coach shouting I lost my mind. I understood nothing and then I threw the jersey in anger. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to control the tension and the frustration that has been building up for a few months.”

May 5th 2010 – Balotelli wins the Coppa Italia after Inter Milan beat Roma 1-0.  He started the game on the bench but came on after 5 minutes to replace an injured Wesley Sneijder.

May 17th 2010 – Balotelli wins his third Serie A title with Inter Milan.

May 22nd 2010 – Balotelli wins the Champions League after Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0. Balotelli was an unused sub.

June 29th 2010 – Balotelli
“I’m ready for Benitez and I’m happy that he has talked well of me. But I’m happy also that Arsenal likes me. Staying at Inter? Now let’s see.”

July 6th 2010 – Mino Raiola, agent
“Was there a real offer from City? Yes, there was but it is not for me to say. Mario Balotelli’s situation is calm. He is an Inter player. There are no negotiations, hence, he will remain at Inter.”

July 10th 2010 – Balotelli
“Roberto Mancini? He’s a great coach, I debuted in Serie A with him because he is a great friend. If he and (Sir Alex) Ferguson want me, it means I’m not as bad as I thought. United is a great club. They have not seen the real Balotelli, for sure I need to learn and achieve more goals. I want to win the Golden Ball in 2011.”

August 10th 2010 – Balotelli makes his début for Italy

August 13th 2010 – Balotell signs for Manchester City
“I’m sorry that I’m leaving Inter and Italy because I would have preferred to continue my professional career in my own country. I’m going where I hope to find the space I need to play which is very important to me: I need to play, to make mistakes, to learn and to play again. As well as a calm environment around me.”

August 19th 2010 – Balotelli scores on his début in a 1-0 win over FC Timisoara in the Europa League

August 23rd 2010 – Roberto Mancini, City manager
“I think that Balotelli could be as good as Torres and even better than him. That’s because Torres can only play as a striker. Balotelli can play as a striker and as a winger. He has a different attitude from Torres.”

August 28th 2010 – Balotelli crashed his car in Manchester but was unharmed

September 8th 2010 – Balotelli will miss two months after requiring knee surgery

September 9th 2010 – Balotelli
“I’m pleased for the words of Galliani. I like AC Milan, they are a strong team.”

September 10th 2010 – Balotelli sang the AC Milan anthem out of the window at his hospital in Pavia to fans and journalists before leaning out and shouting ‘Forza Milan!’

November 3rd 2010 – Roberto Mancini
“It is better that he doesn’t talk, just play. He needs to get a focus on the match. He has been out for a long time and now just needs to play games. Maybe he still needs to understand English football, like David Silva when he first arrived. It took David two months to adapt and maybe it will take Mario the same. But people will see that he is a fantastic player.”

November 7th 2010 – Balotelli scores twice before being sent off against West Brom

November 17th 2010 – Balotelli
“One day I’d like to come back playing with Ibrahimovic – and I’m not bothered which shirt it is in.”

November 18th 2010 – Balotelli
“The likelihood is that I will be at City up to June. I have a five-year contract and I can’t say anything. It’s true that I had supper with Galliani after the derby.”

November 23rd 2010 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“This summer he called me every day because I went to Manchester City with him. Mario is a great player who will do well in England… I’m glad he wants to play with me, but to do it Mario must come here at Milan. Will I call him? No, he must call Galliani.”

December 3rd 2010 – Balotelli and Jerome Boateng had to be pulled apart after a training ground clash

December 21st 2010 – Balotelli pipped Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere to the Golden Boy 2010
“I don’t know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him.”

December 22nd 2010 – Balotelli
“I want to be the best player in the world. It is good to have ambition. I’ve said in the past that I don’t care what other people want or expect of me because I know what I want. I am really happy to have won the Golden Boy 2010, but who else should have won it if not me? Two years ago I finished sixth and in 2009 in fourth. Now it is my turn. Now my objective is to win the Ballon d’Or without age limits. To win the Golden Boy is a good omen to win the main prize. I am now a candidate for that. There is only one player who is a little stronger than me – Messi. All the others are behind me.”

January 18th 2011 – Balotelli
“Do I envy Cassano for going to AC Milan? A little. Silvio Berlusconi said that Cassano is the best Italian talent – he’s wrong or doesn’t know Balotelli. Me with Ibra and Cassano at Milan? It’ll happen soon. For this year, and another, I will stay at City where I’m fine.”

February 28th 2011 – Roberto Mancini
“I am not happy with Mario. I know him very well and I know he can play better. He can play for the team. He scored a fantastic goal, but there were still 70 minutes left. He can’t lose the ball all the time. Every time the ball went to the front, we didn’t keep it.”

March 4th 2011 – Roberto Mancini
“He is not listening to me. I speak but I don’t think he listens. It is not important that he doesn’t listen to me. What is important is that he does well, that he scores. But I know he can do better because I know his quality. He can change every game if he wants. He could score in every game.”

March 11th 2011 – Balotelli’s face swells up as he suffers from an allergic reaction to grass during Manchester City’s deafeat against Dynamo Kiev

March 18th 2011 – Balotelli sent off in crucial game against Dynamo Kiev which sees Manchester City knocked out of the Europa League
“If it stays 11 versus 11, we would have probably scored two or three goals,” said Mancini. “I am very disappointed because in a game like this it is very difficult if you pick up a red card, and you can pick up a red card for doing something stupid. The problem for Mario is that he thinks he could be a fantastic player. But when he does something stupid like that, it is difficult for me, difficult for him and difficult for the team.”

“I am very sorry to my team-mates in particular that I got sent off so early in such an important game,” said Balotelli. “I never tried to make contact with Popov and I certainly didn’t want to hurt him. In retrospect, however, the tackle was poor.”

March 28th 2011 – Balotelli is investigated by the club after it emerged he threw darts at a youth team player at the training ground

April 5th 2011 – Sir Alex Ferguson
“Even I have several emotional talents in the team. Players can also be inspired by the presence of unconventional characters. They are born with that character and that doesn’t change in one year. The problem comes if it creates an imbalance in the changing room. But players can also be inspired by the presence of unconventional characters. Balotelli is a very emotional player, just like other youngsters that have a high potential. Rooney was like that, with an explosive character, with so much will to do things that he overdid it. Now Rooney is 25 and he has matured a lot. But time is needed for Balotelli.”

May 14th 2011 – Balotelli wins the FA Cup with Manchester City, their first trophy in 35 years.

July 25th 2011 – Balotelli has a row with Mancini after being substituted in a friendly against LA Galaxy. Instead of scoring a simple tap-in, Balotelli attempted to showboat and failed, which infuriated Mancini.

“He needs to understand his behaviour has to be good in every game – not just in a final or a semi-final but every game,” said Mancini. “He knows he made a mistake. Football should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score.”

August 1st 2011 – Balotelli
“I am not well in Manchester, I don’t like the city. I don’t know if I will stay until the end of my contract. I’m here for now and then we’ll see.”

September 7th 2011 – Demetrio Albertini, Italian Football Association vice-president
“We need to show Mario the luck he has and how he is in charge of his own future. He is a very nice lad who behaves well within the Italy group, but sometimes he mixes up football with the media aspect. We know he is a great champion, but his attitudes are not ideal at times. However, he has time on his side and he can continue to develop his game on and off the pitch.”

October 22nd 2011 – Balotelli has escaped unhurt after a firework went off in his bathroom and set his house on fire.

October 23rd 2011 – Balotelli scores twice in Manchester City’s 6-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford and revealed a t-shirt which read “Why always me?”

November 11th 2011 – Balotelli scores his first International goal for Italy in a 2-0 win over Poland

November 27th 2011 – Balotelli sent off in 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield

December 12th 2011 – Balotelli breaks club curfew before Manchester City’s game against Chelsea

December 15th 2011 – Balotelli and Micah Richards have to be pulled apart after a training ground bust up

December 31st 2011 – Mancini
“I know he smokes. For me it is not okay – but I am not his father or his mother! If he was my son I would go to him and kick him on the arse. But he is not my son. I told him, for me it is better if you don’t smoke. I am against cigarettes – for this reason my son does not smoke. But there are players in Italy and here that do smoke. I don’t think he smokes a lot of cigarettes, five or six a day – but I told him.”

January 25th 2012 – Balotelli banned for four games for violent conduct after stamping on Scott Parker

March 7th 2012 – Balotelli is fined a week’s wages for going to a strip club and breaking a club curfew two days before Manchester City’s league game against Bolton

March 10th 2012 – Balotelli
“Mancini spent a lot to get me, he had great confidence in me, so I feel more responsibility towards him, so I can’t let myself do stupid things. Every time I play well, I’m pleased for myself, but I’m also pleased for him too.”

March 27th 2012 – Balotelli gatecrashes an Inter Milan press conference as new boss Andrea Stramaccioni was being presented to the media.

April 5th 2012 – Balotelli unharmed after crashing his Bentley in Manchester

April 8th 2012 – Balotelli is sent off in a crucial Premier League game against Arsenal which Manchester City lose 1-0
“I am finished,” said Mancini. “We have six games and he will not play in the next six games.” Pushed further on whether he would try to sell Balotelli at the end of the season, Mancini replied: “Probably – but I don’t know. It depends, because Balotelli is a fantastic player. I can continue to play with Mario on the pitch. Every time, we risk one sent off, like today.”

April 23rd 2012 – Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach
“I never really thought of doing this without Balotelli, as he is a focal point of the national team. Have I made peace with Balotelli? Yes, although to be honest we never argued in the first place.”

May 13th 2012 – Balotelli wins the Premier League with Manchester City

May 30th 2012 – Balotelli
“If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to prison because I will kill him. Racism is unacceptable to me, I cannot bear it. I hope there will not be a problem at the Euros because if it does happen I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012, it can’t happen.”

June 15th 2012- Cesare Prandelli
“I shouted myself hoarse for 15 minutes but I didn’t manage to correct his positioning. He was coming towards the ball but then he didn’t hold onto it. Either you come for the ball and hold onto it or you go long. If we have affection for this lad we have to tell him these things, the truth, and that’s what I do. If you want to become great you have to know how to deal with difficulty. I’ll never abandon him. I played him from the start when the entire press corps wanted him benched. No-one can say ‘I’ in this team, we need courage, this is a good team. With three days to the game, we expect a great reaction from him.”

June 18th 2012 – Balotelli scores against Ireland in a group stage game and appeared to react angrily in the direction of the manager, before team mate Leonardo Bonucci put his hand over Balotelli’s mouth to stop him shouting any more.

June 23rd 2012 – Balotelli
“These are two metaphors for Mario the person not Mario the footballer. I think I’m a man but I don’t think I need to say it. Mino (Raiola) said I’m Peter Pan because he wants to make people laugh. But I could be Peter Pan because I do things my own way and I’m a bit free. I could be Peter Pan but I think I’m more of a man than Peter Pan. I’m not a Super Mario or a Stupid Mario, I’m just Mario and those who know me.”

June 28th 2012 – Balotelli scores twice against Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 to put Italy in the final.
“This is the greatest night of my life but I hope Sunday is going to be even better.”

July 1st 2012 – Balotelli played for 90 minutes in Italy’s 4-0 defeat to Spain in the Euro 2012 final

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