Mario Balotelli's excuse for his infamous back-heel shot v LA Galaxy in 2011

Los Angeles Galaxy v Manchester City

Mario Balotelli was tipped as the next best thing when he signed for Manchester City in 2010.

Fans were no stranger to the fact he was, well, something of a maverick but Premier League supporters weren't quite prepared for the end product.

The amount of notorious stories that emanated form the Italian striker in mere weeks was quite spectacular: from being pulled over for having thousands of pounds in cash on his passenger seat, going into schools to sort out bullies and THAT fireworks incident.

His eccentric nature was also vastly apparent on the pitch, too, with his goal against Norwich City - virtue of his shoulder - enduring as the most famous moment.

However, when the pressure of the Premier League and points being on the line were alleviated, Balotelli would push his luck even further. Just ask LA Galaxy.

The young forward plastered himself all over the back pages when, during a pre-season friendly, he decided to take on a one-on-one opportunity with a roulette-like back heel attempt.

It was as bizarre as it is difficult to describe, so relive the famous moment below:

To say the bout of showboating blew up in Balotelli's face would be putting things mildly.

Despite the clock displaying just 30 minutes and the 27-year-old having already scored a penalty, Roberto Mancini was so infuriated that he took the decision to sub Balotelli off.

Not before Nigel de Jong and Edin Dzeko had given him appropriate earfuls, mind.

Mancini explained after the game: "We need to be always professional, always serious, and in that moment I did not think Mario did this. That is why I took him off.

"He knows he made a mistake. In football you should always be serious and if you have a chance to score, you should score. I hope he has learned his lesson.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

"It is punishment enough for him to be substituted after 30 minutes. But for me it is now finished."

It begs the question: why on earth did Balotelli pull the stunt?

Well, on his own admission, it was because he thought he heard the referee's whistle sound for an offside decision. 

Had he been convinced that he was onside, it can be assumed that Balotelli would have tucked the chance away and set himself up for a hat-trick.

Mancini begged to differ, however, informing the press at the time: "Mario is streetwise, he knows he was not offside."


Not streetwise enough to just thump it into the top corner, though, Roberto.

Do you think Mario Balotelli could still cut it in the Premier League? Have your say in the comments section below.

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