Mario Balotelli: LAD or LOUT?
Since arriving in the Premier League as a 19 year old for £23m, ‘Super Mario’ has rarely been out of the news. There is no doubt that he has livened […]
Since arriving in the Premier League as a 19 year old for £23m, ‘Super Mario’ has rarely been out of the news. There is no doubt that he has livened up the PL with his antics and has built up something of a cult following amongst football fans of all allegiances. However is he a LAD or just an arrogant lout?
On arrival it took only two weeks for Balotelli to make an impact, both on and off the pitch. Scoring on his debut against FC Timisoara was followed up shortly after with writing off his £120,000 Audi R8. When questioned by police at the scene why exactly he was carrying £5000 in cash in his back pocket he replied simply with “Because I am rich”. And so a legend was born.
He was admonished by club officials for throwing darts at youth team players and quizzed by police after driving into a women’s prison without permission because he “was curious”.
This behavior could be explained by his girlfriend, who claims “he’s very deep, but very simple”. This was further backed up by the hilarious video showing him having difficulty putting on a training bib, which resulted in pundit Robbie Savage coming out with the diabolical quip:
I’ll tell you what, I’m going to change his name to – Mario BIBotelli! Last week he came off because he had an allergic reaction to grass, while this week he’s got…BIBitus!
Oh dear Robbie.
However, Balotelli has also shown a more compassionate side, putting a grand behind the bar at a pub in Manchester for the patrons before sticking £200 in the collection tray at a church service over Christmas.
This story was one of a whole host of other Balotelli sightings; he was spotted handing out £20 notes to passers by, dressed as Father Christmas, gave £1000 to a homeless man outside a casino and was rumoured to have driven a young truant back to school to confront the child that was bullying him, and demanded a meeting with the headmaster.
Sadly these stories turned out to be false, but it shows what a character Balotelli is that these stories and more have been believed and widely accepted as fact. Balotelli falls well within the category described by sports columnist Bill Simmons as the “Tyson Zone“;
The point at which a celebrity’s behavior becomes so insane, that there is literally nothing they could do that would any longer shock or surprise you, or indeed any human being.
Other antics Mario has got up to recently include turning his back garden into a racetrack for his quadbikes, and the fantastic irony of him becoming Manchester’s ambassador for fire safety only days after his house down was almost burnt down after a firework was let off in his bathroom.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
This even inspired Tinchy Stryder to make a tribute track in homage to the Manchester City star.
His latest digression involved breaching club curfew for a trip to a strip club – a move which cost him two weeks wages; around £250,000, so a fairly pricey night out then. This move prompted City manager Mancini to encourage Mario to get married. As you do.
Whatever your opinion on LADotelli, Super Mario, BIBotelli or simply Balotelli, there is little doubt that the man who has racked up over £10,000 in parking fines is a breath of fresh air in the boring, cliche sodden football world. We await his next demeanor with bated breath, and while we might not always approve, he is certainly a character that the Premier League would be poorer without.