Mario Balotelli’s time at Manchester City was certainly eventful.
Truth be told, the Golden Boy winner’s career in football has been a rollercoaster ride across the board, but it was his time at the Etihad Stadium that introduced his penchant for the dramatic to a Premier League audience.
From scraps with Roberto Mancini to fireworks in bathrooms and countless rumours that would take us all day to list, Balotelli certainly kept the tabloids busy during his time in sky blue.
Fines at football clubs
However, park the John Lewis trips and bib shenanigans in your mind for a second because today’s Balotelli retrospective centres around the fines that he racked up in the north-west.
With Frank Lampard’s fining system hitting the news again upon his move to Everton, we couldn’t help casting our minds back to the protocol at City, which meant that Balotelli’s bank account took an absolute hammering.
And we know that courtesy of Micah Richards, who has given fascinating insight into the world of professional football since swapping his life on the pitch for a career as one of the best pundits in the business.
Balotelli getting fined at Man City
During a thoroughly-entertaining chat with BBC Radio 5 Live in 2019, the former City player read through Lampard’s list of fines when it first leaked at Chelsea and duly led on to Balotelli’s own run-ins with penalties.
“£20,000 late for the starting of training – that is a lot,” Richards remarked while trying to compare Lampard’s system to the fines in place at City. “But everything else seems to be in sync.
“But Balotelli was always late. We used to give all of our money to charities so by Christmas time we’d have £100,000 or £150,000 in there just from Balotelli.
“He would be in the building. Say we had a meeting upstairs – he’d just be downstairs relaxing. He’d come to the meeting but he was just a bit dozy.”
'I told Balotelli I would let him off but it was every other week and then Kompany is looking at me… making sure I'm doing my job' 😂🤣— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) November 18, 2019
🗣️ @MicahRichards talks about the fining system at #MCFC with @VincentKompany & @FinallyMario
Football Daily 📲: https://t.co/8i7o6RAfOm pic.twitter.com/LNAR6j98e5
Richards explained that Vincent Kompany pulled the strings with the fining system, but admitted that he was occasionally called upon to do the dirty work as one of the senior players in the dressing room.
And despite Richards’ best attempts to cut Balotelli some slack, it was simply impossible with the ex-England international adding: “I told [Balotelli]: ‘I’m going to let you off today…’ but with Balotelli it was like every other week.
“I could only do so much – then Kompany’s looking over my shoulder, it undermined a little bit…”
Balotelli’s locker when he left Man City
However, perhaps the most remarkable story surrounding Balotelli’s fines at City didn’t revolve around those administered by the club, but rather those dished out by traffic wardens for parking offences.
While it’s no secret that Balotelli had more than a few run-ins with automobile regulations in England, the Daily Mail’s 2017 interview with former City kit man Les Chapman revealed the amusing extent of it.
While reminiscing about Balotelli, Chapman said: “He was a complete one-off, the most unpredictable man on the planet. When he got sent off at Arsenal he threw his boot through the plasma TV in the dressing-room!
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“But he was bright, he wasn’t stupid, and he was very generous. He would go into a garage and pay for everyone’s petrol or give a homeless guy a wad of cash.
“Then he used to wonder why his car was impounded 27 times… because it was painted in camouflage and he parked it on double yellows outside San Carlo restaurant in the middle of Manchester every day. I opened his locker after he left and all his parking tickets just fell out!”
Amazing. Balotelli truly was one of a kind.