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Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli - Inter Mailand (2).jpg
Personal information
Full name Mario Barwuah Balotelli
Date of birth 12 August 1990 (1990-08-12) (age 19)
Place of birth Palermo, Italy
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Striker[1]
Club information
Current club Internazionale
Number 45
Youth career
2001–2006 Lumezzane
2006–2007 Internazionale
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Lumezzane 2 (0)
2007– Internazionale 54 (18)
National team
2008– Italy U-21 16 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 March 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 3 March 2010

Mario Barwuah Balotelli[2] (born 12 August 1990) is an Italian footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Internazionale.

Known for his pace and technical ability, Balotelli (often nicknamed Super Mario) can play anywhere along the front line, preferably as a centre forward. He is a good set-piece taker and regarded as one of the best young strikers in Italy.[3][4][5]

Contents

Early life

Balotelli was born to Ghanaian immigrants Thomas and Rose Barwuah in the Italian city of Palermo. The family moved to Bagnolo Mella in the province of Brescia, Lombardy shortly after Balotelli was born. In 1993, at the age of three, the Barwuah family agreed to entrust Mario to the Balotelli family, with the legal move successively formalized by the Court of Brescia.[6] Balotelli later accused his biological parents of "glory hunting", stating that they only wanted him back when he became famous.[7] They lived in Concesio, a town and comune in Brescia. According to Law 91 of 5 February 1992,[8] Balotelli had to wait until his 18th birthday in order to request Italian citizenship, as his adoption was never made definitive, which he officially gained on 13 August 2008.[9]

Club career

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Lumezzane

Balotelli began his career with Lumezzane. At the age of 15, he was promoted to the senior side, making his senior debut in a Serie C1 league match against Padova.[10]

Internazionale

Internazionale signed Balotelli on loan with option to purchase in 2006. He started in their under-17 squad then joined the Primavera under-20 team at the age of 16. He scored a tie-breaking penalty in a Primavera league final 1–0 win over Sampdoria, prompting high praise from people including Inter chairman Massimo Moratti.[11]

Balotelli made his first team debut in December 2007, replacing David Suazo in a 2–0 win against Cagliari. Three days later, he featured in the starting lineup in a Coppa Italia match against Reggina, scoring two goals in a 4–1 win.[12] Balotelli gained national attention after he scored two goals against Juventus in the return leg of the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, being instrumental in a 3–2 away win for the Nerazzurri.[13] His first Serie A goal then came in April 2008 in a 2–0 away win against Atalanta.[14] Inter went on to win the 2007-08 scudetto.[15] Balotelli was a substitute in the 2008 Supercoppa Italiana final against Roma. He came on as a replacement for Luís Figo, scoring in the 83rd minute. Inter went on to win the final 6–5 on penalties after the match ended 2–2.

Before the start of the 2008-09 season Balotelli signed a three-year contract with Inter.[16] In November 2008, he scored his first Champions League goal, against Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta, becoming the youngest Inter player ever to score in the Champions League. At 18 years and 85 days he beat the previous record set by Obafemi Martins, at 18 years and 145 days.[citation needed] In April 2009, Balotelli scored Inter's goal in a 1–1 draw with Juventus, and was racially abused by Juventus fans throughout the game, including chants such as "a Black Italian does not exist".[17] This led to Massimo Moratti saying that he would have pulled his team off if he had been present.[18] The racist chants were also condemned by Juventus chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli.[17] Juventus were handed a one game home fan ban because of the incident.[19] Inter won the Serie A for the fourth time in a row.[20][21]

Zlatan Ibrahimović with Balotelli

In his second season with Inter's first team, Balotelli had a number of disciplinary problems, most notably involving Inter head coach José Mourinho who excluded him from the senior team in the second half of January. The Portuguese boss stated "as far as I'm concerned, a young boy like him cannot allow himself to train less than people like Figo, Córdoba, and Zanetti."[22] Earlier that season Mourinho had accused Balotelli of showing a lack of effort in training.[23] Balotelli also continued to be attacked with racist chants throughout the season, becoming the focus of Juventus fan even during games not involving Internazionale at all; such choruses then led to Juventus being fined twice and the club ultimately being punished with a partial stadium closure due to repeated racist chants.[24] The young striker again incurred the wrath of Juve fans in the heated Derby d'Italia away encounter with Juventus on 5 December 2009 which Inter lost 2-1. When he was elbowed by Juve midfielder Felipe Melo in the shoulder, he fell on the pitch clutching his face and was promptly booked while Melo was sent off for a second yellow card. The incident sparked a fiery altercation between teammate Thiago Motta and Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.[25][26]

International career

Due to bureaucratic problems Balotelli was unable to answer call-ups to the Italian national under-15 and under-17 teams, as he was still considered to be a Ghanaian immigrant.[27]

On 7 August 2007, five days before his 17th birthday, Balotelli received his first senior International call-up from Ghana coach Claude Le Roy for a friendly against Senegal at the New Den stadium in London, England on 21 August 2007.[28] However, he declined the offer citing once again his willingness to play for Italy when he becomes eligible.[29] He also stated his willingness to represent Italy at international level once he acquired an Italian passport.[30]

Italy under-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi stated his intention to call up Balotelli once he obtained Italian citizenship. On 13 August 2008, Balotelli was finally given Italian citizenship, and in a press conference on the same day he stated his desire to play for the Italy under-21 team.[31] On 29 August, Casiraghi finally called him to join the Azzurrini for the matches against Greece and Croatia.[32] He scored his first international goal in a 1–1 draw with Greece under-21's, then scored two goals against Israel in the qualification play-offs for the 2009 European Under-21 Championships.[33]

In February 2009, Italy under-21 coach Pierluigi Casiraghi criticised Balotelli after he missed a flight to Trieste where Casiraghi was holding a training session. Balotelli was alleged to have overslept and had to drive there himself to join the rest of the team.[34]

Balotelli was sent off in the 36th minute of the first half in a match with hosts Sweden at the European Under-21 Championship for retaliating against Pontus Wernbloom. This was after he had scored in the 23rd minute to put his team up 1–0.[35]

Despite widespread criticism in the media,[36] Balotelli was called up for the Italian Under-21 match against Hungary. In the 2-0 victory Balotelli was singled out for his impressive performance.[37] Many pundits who watched the game publicly called on Italy coach Marcello Lippi to call him up to the senior squad.[38]

Honours

Internazionale
2007
2008
2007–08, 2008–09
2008

Career statistics

(Correct as of 6 January 2010)

Club Season Serie A Europe Cup and Supercup Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Internazionale 2007-08 11 3 3 0 0 0 4 4 0 15 7 3
2008–09 22 8 1 6 1 2 3 1 0 31 10 3
2009–10 21 7 4 6 1 1 4 1 1 31 9 6
Total 54 18 8 12 2 3 10 6 1 77 26 12

References

  1. ^ Mario Balotelli Profile
  2. ^ "Barwuah Balotelli Mario" (in Italian). FC Internazionale Milano. http://www.inter.it/aas/squadra/player1?codgioc=G0823&L=it&stagione=2008/09. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "Inter, c'è un Fenomeno in casa" (in Italian). Alice Sport. 16 November 2006. http://sport.alice.it/it/cmc/calcio/200646/cmc_103136.html. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  4. ^ "Barcelona eyeing Inter Milan Allievi whiz Balotelli". Tribalfootball.com. 9 October 2006. http://www.tribalfootball.com/article.php?id=14144. Retrieved 9 October 2006. 
  5. ^ "Can Balotelli silence the racist taunts?". The Independent. 11 December 2009. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/can-balotelli-silence-the-racist-taunts-1838052.html. 
  6. ^ "Balotelli, il figlio campione che si è dimenticato di noi" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. 12 October 2008. http://www.corriere.it/sport/08_ottobre_12/balotelli_genitori_naturali_93bd1854-980c-11dd-af17-00144f02aabc.shtml. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  7. ^ "Inter's Balotelli accuses biological parents". Daily Mail. 11 June 2008. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1083620/Inter-star-Balotelli-accuses-parents-glory-hunting.html. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  8. ^ "Italian citizenship". Comune di Torino. 6 March 2006. http://www.comune.torino.it/en/papers/italian-citizenship.shtml. Retrieved 6 March 2006. 
  9. ^ "Inter's Balotelli gets Italian citizenship". Italymag.co.uk. 15 August 2008. http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy/brescia/inters-balotelli-gets-italian-citizenship. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  10. ^ "Biography". Mario Balotelli Official Website. http://www.mariobalotelli.it/en/biography.php. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "Moratti: Who needs Pato?". Channel 4. 19 August 2007. http://www.channel4.com/sport/football_italia/aug19k.html. Retrieved 19 August 2007. 
  12. ^ "Balotelli Biography". Football Database. http://www.footballdatabase.com/index.php?page=player&Id=762&pn=Mario_Balotelli_Barwuah. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  13. ^ "A star is born in Milan:Mario Balotelli". Soccer Lens. 31 January 2008. http://soccerlens.com/internazionale-beat-juventus-3-2-and-a-star-is-born-in-milan-mario-balotelli/5501/. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  14. ^ "Inter Milan 2-0 Atalanta". Italian Soccer Serie A. 6 April 2008. http://italiansoccerseriea.com/2008/04/06/results-italian-serie-a-week-32---atalanta--fc-inter.aspx. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  15. ^ "Parma 0-2 Inter Milan". ESPN. 18 May 2008. http://soccernet-assets.espn.go.com/report?id=224402&&cc=5739. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  16. ^ "Balotelli signs new contract with Inter". Inter.it. 26 August 2008. http://www.inter.it/aas/news/reader?N=29477&L=en. Retrieved 26 August 2008. 
  17. ^ a b "Juve president slams own fans for racist chants". Reuters. 19 April 2009. http://football.uk.reuters.com/seriea/news/LJ467490.php. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  18. ^ "Inter president chides Juve fans for racist chants". Reuters. 20 April 2009. http://uk.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUKTRE53J1ED20090420. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  19. ^ "Juve punished over racial abuse". BBC Sport. 20 April 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8008928.stm. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  20. ^ "Chievo hold Inter". Eurosport. 10 May 2009. http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/10052009/58/serie-round-chievo-hold-inter.html. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  21. ^ "Mourinho wins Serie A with Inter". BBC Sport. 16 May 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8053989.stm. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  22. ^ "Mourinho gets tough with Balotelli". FIFA. 12 January 2009. http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=991318.html. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  23. ^ "Moratti: Mourinho Right To Show Balotelli Fist Of Steel". Goal.com. 1 December 2008. http://www.goal.com/en/news/1707/inter/2008/12/01/991098/moratti-mourinho-right-to-show-balotelli-fist-of-steel. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  24. ^ "Juve fans continue to bait Balotelli". AFP. 17 January 2010. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hr_4WepjB0LJ2CSVolKlXluAYXdA. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  25. ^ "Juventus 2-1 Internazionale: Marchisio magic seals Juve win over Inter". espn.com. 6 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "La meglio gioventù" (in Italian). La Stampa. 7 December 2009. http://www.lastampa.com/sport/cmsSezioni/quijuve/200912articoli/24082girata.asp. 
  27. ^ "Un prodigio ma non è azzurro" (in Italian). Avvenimenti. 8 December 2006. http://www.avvenimentionline.it/content/view/519/139/. Retrieved 8 December 2006. 
  28. ^ "Le Roy names 20 for friendly". Ghana Football Association. 7 August 2007. http://www.ghanafa.org/news/read.asp?contentid=2129. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  29. ^ "Stars to tame the lions today". The Statesman. 21 August 2007. http://www.thestatesmanonline.com/pages/news_detail.php?newsid=4516&section=3. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  30. ^ "ESCLUSIVA TMW - Inter, il baby fenomeno Balotelli si racconta" (in Italian). TuttoMercatoWeb. 1 June 2007. http://www.tuttomercatoweb.it/index.php?action=read&id=61151. Retrieved 19 July 2007. 
  31. ^ "Casiraghi: "Occhio a Messi noi partiamo da Nocerino"" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 16 May 2008. http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/Nazionale/Primo_Piano/2008/05_Maggio/16/casiraghi.shtml. Retrieved 17 May 2008. 
  32. ^ "Casiraghi convoca Balotelli" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 29 August 2008. http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/Nazionale/Primo_Piano/2008/08/29/under.shtml. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  33. ^ "Balotelli plots Italy's progress". UEFA. 15 October 2008. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/under21/fixturesresults/round=15085/match=304070/index.html. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  34. ^ "Casiraghi disappointed with Balotelli attitude". Football Italiano. 12 February 2009. http://footballitaliano.org/2009/02/12/casiraghi-disappointed-with-balotelli-attitude/. Retrieved 18 May 2009. 
  35. ^ Peter Staunton (19 June 2009). "Ten-Man Italy Defeat Sweden After Balotelli Sent Off". Goal.com. http://goal.com/en/news/2378/euro-u-21-2009/2009/06/19/1334898/ten-man-italy-defeat-sweden-after-balotelli-sent-off. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  36. ^ http://www.goal.com/en/news/10/italy/2010/02/18/1796665/the-media-is-not-fair-to-mario-balotelli-inter-legend-sandro
  37. ^ http://www.football-italia.net/mar3w.html
  38. ^ http://www.football-italia.net/mar5b.html

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