Illustrations par Steve Fuchs | VOA
As many football fans know, Mario Balotelli of Italy is quite the character. Here are five of his craziest moments on and off the field – a list that only scratches the surface of his many exploits and adventures:
5. Use fireworks in his bathroom
In 2011, Mario Balotelli was on fire as a star player for Manchester City. Unfortunately for him, his house in Cheshire was also on fire one night…and it was entirely his own fault. When firefighters arrived at his house to put out the blaze, he told them that four of his friends were playing with fireworks from the window of his bathroom. The fireworks caused some towels to catch fire, which spread to an entire floor of his house.
4. Trying to break into a women’s prison
In 2010, Balotelli and his brother decided to make an impromptu visit to, of all places, a women’s prison in Bresica, Italy. When stopped by police in their Mercedes at the entrance, Balotelli explained, in all seriousness, that he and his brother wanted to see the prison and decided to go on a whim. Unfortunately for them, the authorities turned them away.
3. Using his karate skills…on an opponent
Italians can have a reputation for being hot headed, and Balotelli is apparently no exception. But Balotelli takes his anger to a whole new level. In a crucial match between Manchester City and Kiev in March 2011, Balotelli’s frustrations got the best of him when he delivered a ninja kick to one of his opponents. In response to this blow, the referee dealt Balotelli a blow of his own: a red card.
2. Dueling with rolling pins in a restaurant
In 2011, before an important match against Chelsea, Balotelli went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. One thing led to another, and somehow, by the end of the night, he and a friend were playfully dueling… using rolling pins. His amateur swordfight cost him a week’s worth of wages – £150,000 – but didn’t seem to affect his playing: Balotelli would go on to score two goals the next day, as Manchester City beat Chelsea 6-1.
1. Earn over $10,000 in parking fines
Mario Balotelli loves Italians…Italian cars, that is. He also apparently loves racking up parking and traffic fines. He racked up an impressive $10,000-plus in parking fines; as a result, his Maserati was impounded 27 times. Not that the fines are any burden: one time, when stopped by the police, Balotelli had over $25,000 next to him on the passenger seat. When they asked him why he was carrying so much money on the front seat of his car, he simply replied: “Because I can.”
(this post courtesy VOA’s French language World Cup blog. Check it out at http://football.lavoixdelamerique.com/)