Mario Balotelli - 2010 Golden Boy award winner
21 Dec 2010
20 and 13 days
Inter Milan, Manchester City
8 Dec 1990
The Italian striker Mario Balotelli was named the Golden Boy award winner in December 2010. Runner up were Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and on third place was the Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea.
Mario Balotelli was born with the name Mario Barwuah in Palermo, Italy, and his parents were immigrants from Ghana. His parents had to place him in foster care since they could not afford to pay for his medical needs, and the foster parents were the Balotelli family living in Brescia. When the Balotelli family later adopted him he changed his name to Balotelli. Being a son of immigrants he didn't become a Italian citizen until the 13th of August 2008.
Starting in Lumezzane and moving to Inter Milan
His started his club career in the club Lumezzane and already at the age of 15 years and 233 days he debuted for the club in Serie C1. In 2006 he was signed by Inter Milan, first on loan and the next year it became a permanent move. He debuted in the Inter Milan's first team on the 16th of December 2007 in a Serie A game against Cagliari. In his second game, an Italian cup game against Reggina, he started the match and scored twice.
In his second season of professional football he started to have disciplinary problems, something that he has become famous for all through his career. The Inter Milan coach at the time was José Mourinho who, among other things, accused him of showing bad attitude in training. Because of all the problems he and Mourinho had with each other he was in and out of the team during his two last seasons in the club. He was to good of a player not to play but was constantly punished for his disciplinary problems.
Moving to Manchester City
All his problems led to the sale of Balotelli to Manchester City in August 2010 for a transfer fee of €21.8 million. The key of his move that City were managed by his first season in Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini. After some initial injury problems, he made his debuted for Manchester City in Premier League on the 24th of October 2010. He scored his first two goals for the club on the club on the 7th of November against West Bromwich, and received a red card later in the same game.
He was an important part of Manchester City's successful season 2010/2011 when they won both Premier League and the FA Cup. However, his disciplinary problems and crazy lifestyle continued in England as well, making him get a lot of intention from English tabloids and getting fined and suspended by his club on several occasions. Because of this he was eventually sold to AC Milan on the 31st of January 2013. In total he scored 20 goals during his time in Manchester.
Back to Italy - this time AC Milan
In AC Milan he was an immediate success, scoring two goals in his debut, and scored two goals in the coming to games. In his first half season he scored 12 goals in only 13 games. He only came to stay one more season in AC Milan, and during his time there he had less problems compared to what he had in his previous clubs. Despite this AC Milan sold him to Liverpool in August 2014.
In Liverpool - and then back to AC Milan again
Back in England his personal problems started again and he never became a success in Liverpool. He had all his different problems in his previous clubs, but when he played, he scored a lot of goals, in Liverpool he did not do that. It took him 13 matches to score his first goal for the club, and in total he only scored four goals during his year in Liverpool.
Liverpool got tired of Balotelli and shipped him back on loan to AC Milan in August 2015. During this session in the club, he was not the success he was in his first years in AC Milan. One of the reasons for this was that he got injured and was out for three months, but he didn't perform well once he was back from the injury. In the summer of 2016 he returned to Liverpool, but being unwanted there he was released on free transfer.
Starting moving around a lot to different leagues
Next club was go be the French club Nice, which he signed for as a free transfer. He had a good spell in Nice with 33 goals in two and half season but decided to move to Marseille in January 2019. He did decently well in Marseille as well, scoring 8 goals in half a season, but in August 2019 he signed with the Italian club Brescia instead of staying in Marseille.
His time in Brescia was not much of a success though, the club got relegated to Serie B and his contract was automatically not extended because of this. In December 2007, after not having played for any club for half a year, he signed for the Serie B club Monza.
After only staying half a season in Monza he moved to Turkey and Adana Demirspor for the season 2021/2022. He scored 18 goals that season, and five of them he scored in his final match for this club in a 7–0 victory against Göztepe. In August 2022 he signed for the Swiss club Sion.
In Italy's national team
Since Balotelli became an Italian citizen late in his life he couldn't represent the youth national teams until 2008. When he finally could he became an important player in Italy's U21 team, playing 18 games at this level and scoring 7 goals.
He debuted in the senior Italian national team on the 10th of August 2010 when Italy played a friendly game against the Ivory Coast. In November the same year he scored his first national team goal against Poland in another friendly game.
Balotelli was part of Italy's UEFA Euro 2012 team. He scored three goals there, two of them in the semi-final against Germany, taking Italy to the final where they lost against Spain with 0-4. He was also pat of the team in FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, scoring one goal in Italy's first match of the torunament against England.
After the 2014 World Cup he was left out of the national team, either because of injuries and other times he was simply not called up. In 2018 he made a comeback when his former coach Roberto Mancini called him up and he played three games for Gli Azzurri during 2018 but has then been out of the team again. Last time he was called up was on the 24th of January 2022, this time only for a training camp.
Records by Mario Balotelli
Balotelli have had some amazing performances over the years, here are some records and memorable things in his life.
- When scoring his first UEFA Champions League goal at the ago of 18 years and 85 days, he was the youngest Inter player ever scoring in the tournament.
- When Mario Balotelli scored for Liverpool in Champions League in September 2014, at the age of 24, he became the first Italian scoring in the UCL for four different clubs: Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan and finally Liverpool.
- In 2013 he was named one of the Top 100 most influential people in the world by the magazine Time