Italian forward is set to begin the new football season with his latest club, Brescia Calcio, but how did he get there?
Mario Balotelli emerged on the football scene at Internazionale Club de Milano as a precocious 17-year-old striker. Blessed with excellent skills and technical ability, Mario was always destined for the top.
However, questions regarding his attitude and general application dogged his early career. Despite flashes of brilliance with Inter and the Italian national team the Azzurri, there was that undercurrent of un-acceptance and lack of appreciation that followed the man born in Palermo, Sicily.
The son of Ghanaian immigrants, Mario grew up in the Italian province of Brescia where his parents moved to when he was a toddler. Early life difficulties led Mario to foster parental care. His adoptive parents Francesco and Silvia Balotelli provided that secure and nurturing environment for Balotelli to grow and express his talent from where he later joined Inter.
Unfortunately, the general society didn’t quite embrace young Mario as his adoptive parents did, which has been a recurring point especially highlighted in racist encounters with fans of different football clubs he has come up against.
Balotelli, after a sometimes strenuous relationship with the Nerazzurri, decided to try out other clubs in Europe.
Though he found success with English club Manchester City FC, issues of indiscipline and poor attitude still followed him. Leaving the Mancunian club didn’t really solve all these issues and conversely affected his career gaining a reputation as a journeyman following stints at various clubs, from Italy to England to France.
Brescia Calcio is Balotelli’s latest abode. His hometown club signed him on a free transfer ahead of the current Serie A season. Hopefully familiar surroundings of his environment and family he grew up with could spur Mario to rediscover his form and get back to his devastating best.
At 29 years old, Balotelli would know that this latest move is the last chance saloon of sorts for the big man. Already, support and praise have come from various quarters for him. His Coach Eugenio Corini, speaking after Brescia’s 2-1 home loss to Juventus FC, saluted Mario for his endeavor saying:
“Mario arrived with the right motivation, he is working hard and is an extraordinary player, so I am sure he’ll give us a big hand this season.’’
Teammate and fellow forward Alfredo Donnarumma have also given his reaction after their game against Juve, speaking of his excitement teaming up with Balotelli adding
“We work hard on the tactical aspects. Mario is accustomed to different movements, so we communicate a lot on our movements off the ball.”
“Playing alongside him is an honor for me, and I am sure we’ll get stronger as partners going forward.”
Balotelli will be hoping to get off the goal-scoring mark and secure victory for his team when they travel away to face 3rd placed SSC Napoli on Sunday, 29th September 2019.
Brescia Calcio are priced at 9.38 to defeat Napoli, while Napoli are fancied at 1.28.
Written by: Ayotunde Omolayole