The Madness of Mario: Top 10 bonkers Balotelli moments
Manchester City's maverick striker Mario Balotelli is never far from the headlines. Unfortunately not too many of them have been down to his matchwinning ability, as a string of stories ranging from the bizarre to the ridiculous have made "Super Mario" one of the most notorious players in Europe.
Here's our top 10 mad Mario moments:
10. Balotelli's unique charm helps endear him to his new hometown following his move to Manchester City. The former Inter striker said, "I'm not happy in Manchester, I don’t like the city. With the boss and the rest of the team I'm OK, but the city is not up to my taste."
9. Balotelli has had training ground bust-ups on more than one occasion since joining City. He was involved in a scrap with former City man Jerome Boateng in December last year and, as recently as this August, he was at it again, scuffling with fullback Alexandr Kolarov during a training session.
8. When you're playing for a big city club, the thought of wearing the club colours of your biggest rivals is unspeakable. But that's exactly what happened with Balotelli who, while still an Inter player, donned an AC Milan shirt in this video...
7. When Inter defeated Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final it was a cause for huge celebration for the Nerazzurri fans and Inter players alike. Except Balotelli, that is. The moody striker instead ripped off his shirt and threw it at the fans in disgust for their reaction to his disinterested display during the game.
6. Picture the scene - you're a bored professional footballer with time on your hands and your young teenage brother in tow. What do you do? If you're Mario Balotelli you hop into your Mercedes Coupe and drive into a women's prison. Jail officer explained that the pair were questioned for half an hour and said they were "specially curious at the fact it was a women's prison".
5. Balotelli's most recent headline involves possible links with the Mafia. The City star is set to be quizzed by detectives after he was taken on a tour of a notorious crime-ridden area of Naples by mobsters. He's not suspected of any wrongdoing, the police are keen for the player to explain his relationship with the people who showed him around as part of their investigation into organised crime in the region.
4. It's pre-season, you're on tour and your club has signed a host of big-money stars. It's time to impress. Unfortunately Balotelli's backheel fail against LA Galaxy did him no favours as he was immediately hauled off by manager Roberto Mancini.
3. The Balotelli stories have unfortunately been negative ones in the main, but this one is a far more positive tale. After spending the night at a casino, Balotelli won £25,000 and, on his way out of the venue, stopped to give £1,000 of it to a tramp sat outside. We always knew he had a heart of gold...
2. It's important for all top strikers to regularly work on target practice to hone their finishing, but Balotelli's own version of target practice, throwing darts at youth team players from a window. Thankfully, Mario is no Phil "The Power" Taylor and the youth team player walked away unscathed.
1. And, of course, the undisputed number one Mario Balotelli moment is... the bib!