Once regarded as one of the hottest youth prospects in world football, former Italy international Mario Balotelli has been struggling for a long time in his career, mostly with issues of his own creation and failing to live up to his potential. Now in his thirties, we take a brief look to what happened to the man immortalized by his “Why always me?” moment.
Some will still have in memory the image of a young Italian of Ghanaian descent who seemed to have enormous physical and football capacity, who was part of the Inter Milan side led by José Mourinho that managed to win Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League in 2010. That same year Mario Balotelli won the Golden Boy award that recognizes the most promising under-21 football player in Europe.
Later, Mario Balotelli would be the protagonist of big transfer moves for important clubs such as Manchester City in 2010, AC Milan in 2013 or Liverpool FC in 2014. At City Balotelli was part of one of the most important plays in the history of the institution since he gave the assistance to Agüero for that famous goal against the QPR that gave the Premier League to them in the last seconds of the 2011/2012 season. He also had a leading role with the Italian national team, this likely being the highest point of his career, that semifinal of the 2012 Euro against Germany, where they would beat Die Mannschaft 2-1 with two goals from Balotelli, in the second one he left a celebration for history, standing motionless like a statue.
Others will recall a huge list of extra-football incidents that include problems of all kinds. At his last club, Brescia Calcio, he ended his relationship with the club early because they considered him irresponsible and undisciplined, and this is only the tip of the iceberg in Balotelli’s career, which for any other football player would be catastrophic. I will try to make a brief summary of some of their controversies. In his time as an Inter player, Mario Balotelli agreed to pose with a shirt of the eternal rival, AC Milan; years later he would play for. In Manchester, he set his house on fire when he “played” with fireworks in the bathroom with his friends. The English club asked him to quit smoking, to which the player agreed but would later be discovered smoking on a train. Sometimes you would like to ask “Why always you, Mario?”
After 7 clubs in 10 years, today, he is 30 years old, he is as a free agent after ending his contract with Brescia and is about to sign with the Monza club of Serie B (Italian relegation division), which is chaired by Silvio Berlusconi. A sad turn of events for one of the most promising players of the last decade.