Mario Balotelli

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Mario Barwuah Balotelli, born Mario Barwuah; 12 August 1990- ) is an Italian footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Liverpool and the Italian national team. Balotelli is nicknamed Super Mario.

He started his professional football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice before having an unsuccessful trial at FC 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. In March 2010, he came under criticism by Inter fans after he appeared on the Italian TV show Striscia la notizia, wearing an A.C. Milan jersey. This damaged the prospect of him having a long career at Inter, but he did make several appearances after that.

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.

Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in a friendly match against Côte d'Ivoire on 10 August 2010. He has since amassed over 30 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, helping them reach the final of the former.

Mario Balotelli was born in Palermo, Sicily from immigrants from Ghana. The family moved to Bagnolo Mella in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, when he was two.

In 1993, the authorities suggested he be placed into foster care. The Barwuah family gave up the three-year-old boy to an Italian foster family, the Balotellis. His foster parents are Silvia, the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors, and Francesco Balotelli. They lived in the town of Concesio, Brescia, in northern Italy.

At first, he stayed at the Balotellis during the weekdays, and returned to his biological parents on weekends. But after a while he started to be indifferent towards his biological parents and adopted the surname of the Balotellis, and it was arranged for him to be permanently fostered by the Balotellis.

In June 2012, he dedicated his goals that put Italy in the final of the Euro 2012 football championships to his foster mother Silvia, and rushed over to embrace her as she wept after the win.

Balotelli had to wait until his 18th birthday to request Italian citizenship, as the Balotellis had not adopted him. Balotelli officially gained citizenship in Concesio on 13 August 2008.

Balotelli is a fan of mixed martial arts, as he has stated in the past that he would love to compete in the sport professionally if he were not a footballer.

Balotelli owns several cars, including a Range Rover Evoque, Ferrari 458 Spider, Bentley Continental GT, Maserati GT, and Audi R8 V10.

In January 2013, Balotelli's net worth was estimated to be US$40 million, up from US$25 million in January 2012. Balotelli bought a £3 million mansion in the United Kingdom.

Balotelli practices Buddhism, and has said he no longer drinks alcohol.