Mario Balotelli is one of the most controversial names in modern football.
This is due to his unique personality and attitude, which has made his off-pitch actions just as famous as the quality he has shown on the pitch. The media have given the 22-year-old a reputation of being a difficult character, as he has often taken part in questionable and often amusing activities.
Jose Mourinho once described Balotelli as "unmanageable", and Mancini chipped in with his opinion too. "I told him, if you played with me 10 years ago I would give you every day maybe one punch in your head," said the Citizens boss.
There were many moments to choose from in the career of the Italian international. Some that missed the top five include Balotelli using his iPad on the bench during an Italy match against the Faroe Islands, and having a 'fake sword fight' with rolling pins in a curry house.
He also threw a dart at a youth team player as a prank "because he was bored" and converted his garden at his Manchester home into a quad-bike track.
On the pitch, there were many red card incidents and attitude problems but these were overshadowed by two celebrations which impacted the football community in different ways. One of these was the 'Why always me?' celebration in which he lifted his shirt to display the message after scoring in the Manchester derby. The other was the 'Hulk' celebration against Germany in Euro 2012.
What are the five moments that really stood out in his career?
5. AC Milan shirt
In March 2010, Balotelli appeared on satirical show, Striscia La Notizia. He was still an Inter Milan player as he didn't join Manchester City until August of that year. He had always been an AC Milan fan and, under the assumption that the cameras were still off, he put on a Milan shirt. These are of course the rivals of Inter so this caused uproar among the Inter fans and landed Balotelli in a lot of trouble. This was one of the first incidents that attracted the media to Balotelli but it had a huge impact on his career.
4. Household essentials
Balotelli was asked by his mother to go out and buy some household essentials. You would expect him to come home with maybe an ironing board or something but he got the wrong idea and came home with very different items. He returned with a trampoline, two quad bikes, a table tennis set and a scalextric set.
3. The bib
On 17 March 2011, Balotelli was involved in Manchester City's second leg match against Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League. During the match, Balotelli was sent off for a high lunge which ultimately decided the tie. But this was not the only thing that Balotelli caught the headlines for. In the pre-match training, Balotelli was struggling to put on not one, but two training bibs before throwing them away in disgust. A City coach had to come on and assist the confused Balotelli who couldn't work out which way the bib was supposed to go. It has been suggested that the frustration that the innocent bib created in the Italian striker may have contributed to the foul that got him his red card . . . or perhaps not.
2. Because I am rich
Just a couple of weeks after joining Manchester City, Mario Balotelli was involved in a car crash on his way to the City training ground in his Audi R8. After being breathalysed by the police, they demanded to know why a 20-year-old who spoke faltering English was carrying £5000 in his back pocket. Balotelli was completely honest with his answer as he responded by saying, "Because I am rich". Ironically, the driver that Balotelli crashed into had been a City season ticket holder for 25 years.
The most memorable Balotelli moment is undoubtedly the fireworks incident. In October 2011, the day before the Manchester derby in which he revealed the 'Why Always Me' shirt, Balotelli and his friends set his house on fire by setting off a firework in his bathroom. Later that week, Balotelli was unveiled as Greater Manchester's ambassador for firework safety and on the 5 November at an annual fireworks display in Kent, a 12-metre tall bonfire representing the incident was unveiled. It had a Super Mario hat, a house in the right hand and a giant firework in the other. The fireworks incident is one of the most famous and controversial Balotelli moments in his career.
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