You read some incredible stories in the papers and online sometimes, but the stories that can be found online involving Mario Balotelli top them all. 

Whether they're all true or not is another question. 

Stories of him driving around Manchester in his car with a large amount of money on his passenger seat just because he can, dressing as Santa and walking round Manchester just throwing bank notes out, racking up thousands of pounds worth of parking fines, having his Maserati impounded 27 times, not to mention his reported bust-ups with Roberto Mancini and team-mates during training.

All of these bizarre stories seem to take so much away from the brilliance the 22-year-old can show on the football pitch. To me it seems like nothing more than arrogance on the Italian's part and he seems to love the controversy.

Balotelli can play some stunning football when he wants and score some stunning goals, just look at his screamer against Brazil last week.

With just 47 league goals to his name so far throughout his short career, I can't help but believe he could have so many more if he concentrated solely on his game rather than what the press are writing about him.

In 2010 he won the Golden Boy award; it's blatantly clear that so many people have had, and continue, to put a lot of faith in this young player.

After Balotelli made a television appearance in a Milan top while still playing for Inter, he made a public apology saying he was sorry and wanted to look to the future and just play football. 

This, to me, proves he does have some sense and his antics on and off the pitch are possibly just a front - very frustrating for coaches that have seen his potential but have had more negatives to say about him than positives.

Will young Mario ever be the world-class footballer he knows he can and has the talent to be?


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Manchester City
Mario Balotelli