A football bad boy or just a youngster having some fun?
Across his eight-year career, Mario Balotelli has lived up to his billing as one the sport’s box office characters with a string of misdemeanors on and off the field.
Whether it’s throwing darts at teammates, setting his bathroom on fire or wearing the jersey of his club’s biggest rival on live television, Balotelli is rarely out of the headlines.
Here are some controversies in the career of Liverpool’s new striker:
Balotelli had already fallen out with Jose Mourinho during his time at Inter Milan when the striker pulled a stunt that further angered his coach.
During a live TV show in March 2010, Balotelli accepted a jersey of Inter’s fierce rival, AC Milan, held it up to chest with a big grin and then decided to put it on.
No wonder Mourinho described Balotelli as “unmanageable.” The player joined Manchester City three months later.
Balotelli’s reputation as a troublemaker only increased after it emerged in March 2011 that he had thrown a dart at a Man City youth team player, midway through his first season with the club.
No one was hurt in the incident at the club’s training ground and he escaped punishment after being spoken to by City officials.
WHY ALWAYS HIM?
After scoring one of City’s goals in a 6-1 win over Manchester United in October 2011, Balotelli lifted up his jersey to reveal a message on a T-shirt underneath. “Why Always Me?” it read.
The message was sparked by a dramatic incident that took place in Balotelli’s house days earlier.
Firefighters were called in the early hours one morning because a firework had set fire to a curtain in his bathroom, sending smoke billowing through the house.
Police said it was an accident and didn’t take any action. Balotelli, who had been messing about with friends, said he had “got unlucky.”
After a bad tackle by Balotelli on teammate Scott Sinclair in training, City coach Roberto Mancini grabbed his compatriot’s bib in frustration and the pair had to be separated.
The incident was captured by photographers watching a session that was closed to the media.
“Sometimes I am upset with him . but I give him another chance, sure,” Mancini said.
Balotelli was sold by City less than a month later.
It was reported in October 2010 that Balotelli was detained after driving into a women’s prison in Italian city Brescia without authorization.
Balotelli and his brother, Enock, were questioned by prison officers after trying to enter the prison, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported.
The brothers were released without charge.
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