Mario Barwuah Balotelli (born 12th of August 1990) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a striker for A.C. Milan, on loan from Liverpool, and the Italy national team.
He started his professional football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice before having an unsuccessful trial at Barcelona, and subsequently joining Inter Milan in 2007. Inter manager Roberto Mancini brought Balotelli into the first team, but when Mancini left, Balotelli’s disciplinary record fell away. He had a strained relationship with new manager José Mourinho and was suspended from Inter’s first team in January 2009 after a number of disciplinary problems.
With doubts over his career at Inter, former coach Roberto Mancini had since moved to Manchester City and decided to give Balotelli a fresh chance at a new club. He joined Manchester City in August 2010, where his performances and off-field activities continued to be enigmatic and unpredictable. Balotelli eventually fell out of favour with Mancini after a “training ground bust up” between the two in January 2013. His departure from City and return to Italy with A.C. Milan followed several weeks later. After 18 months at Milan, he returned to the Premier League with Liverpool, going back on loan after an unsuccessful season.
Agile, quick and powerful, Balotelli is credited with pace, strength, and technical ability, but criticized for a perceived poor and immature attitude at times. Balotelli is also a set-piece specialist due to his powerful shot, and is regarded by teammates and the media as a promising but undisciplined player. He is regarded as one of the best penalty kick takers in world football, a view backed by his former Manchester City goalkeeping team-mate Joe Hart. Balotelli missed his first competitive penalty against Napoli on 22 September 2013 when it was saved by Pepe Reina.
In his two years at Manchester City, he received four red cards – against West Bromwich Albion (November 2010), Dynamo Kyiv (March 2011), Liverpool (November 2011) and Arsenal (April 2012). He also in this time served suspensions for other incidents such as the supposed stamp on Scott Parker.
Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in a friendly match against the Ivory Coast on 10 August 2010. He has since amassed over 30 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2012, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup; he helped the national side reach the final of Euro 2012, and also won a bronze medal at the Confederations Cup. Along with Antonio Cassano, he is Italy’s top-scorer in the UEFA European Championships, with 3 goals. He is also Italy’s top scorer in the FIFA Confederations Cup, alongside Giuseppe Rossi and Daniele De Rossi, with 2 goals.