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Mario Story
Mario was born in Palermo on August 12th 1990, but has lived in Brescia with the Balotelli family since he was two.

From the very start mum, dad, brothers Corrado and Giovanni, and sister Cristina (all much older than him) looked after little Mario with all the love of a parent, brother or sister.

First steps

When he was just five Mario began playing football for the Mompiano parish team and was immediately grouped with the older boys because of his exceptional technical skills. In 2001 he started playing for A.C. Lumezzane and made his first team debut when he was 15 on April 2nd 2006 (Padova-Lumezzane, Euganeo Stadium). And so, thanks in part to a special exemption granted by the Serie C league (you have to be 16 to play for a professional team), Mario became the youngest player ever in the history of this category.


In summer 2006 Mario played a five-day trial at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, scoring 8 goals and putting some unforgettable experiences under his belt. His brothers, who are partners in a foreign trade consultancy, decided that it was up to them to find him the ideal team and entered into a series of negotiations. But Mario’s citizenship was an issue: although he was born in Italy, he was only eligible to become an Italian citizen when he turned eighteen. And that put an end to talks with Barça. Then, on August 31st, F.C. Internazionale arrived on the scene, made him a good offer and Mario began playing for the club’s Allievi Nazionali (under 16) team. He scored one goal after another and was promoted to the Primavera (under 20) category, scoring 8 goals in 11 matches and helping secure the Bressanone Scudetto for the team. With the Primavera line-up he won both the 2006-07 Scudetto and the Viareggio 2008 Youth Tournament.

Serie A debut

When he was 17 he made his first team debut for coach Roberto Mancini in the championship final between Cagliari and Inter (December 17th 2007). Shortly afterwards he was given a regular place on the team and scored two goals in the Italian Cup (December 19th, Reggina-Inter 1-4). But it was in January 2008 that Mario came to everyone’s attention when he scored two amazing goals against Juventus in the Italian Cup and the media couldn’t praise his “phenomenal” skills enough. These 4 goals also made him the top scorer in the 2007-2008 Italian Cup (together with Cruz and Iaquinta). In the April 2008 match between Atalanta and Inter (0-2), Mario chalked up his first goal in Serie A, and then went on to help win the Scudetto by scoring again against Fiorentina and Siena.

Italian citizenship

When he turned 18 Mario was finally granted Italian citizenship (August 13th 2008), but this was the first time a case like Mario’s had arisen and there wasn’t time for him take part in the Beijing Olympics. His citizenship ceremony was held in Concesio Town Hall, with Mayor Diego Peli, his family and friends, and numerous journalists attending. “I’d like to thank my family for their support during this long process and everyone here. I’m happy to be an Italian citizen”, said Mario, who then made a gift of his Inter shirt to the Mayor and received a Municipality medal to symbolise his ties with Concesio and the local community.

Italian team shirt

In September 2008 Mario played his debut match for the Italian national Under 21 team trained by Pierluigi Casiraghi and immediately scored his first goal in an international match (Italy-Greece).

Two months later he scored his first goal in the Champions League (Anorthosis-Inter, 3-3, November 2008), becoming the youngest player in the history of Inter to score in a Champions League match.

Triumph with Inter

Mario’s 2008-2009 season opened with the Italian Super Cup match won on penalties against Rome (8-7), in which he scored Inter’s second goal and one of the penalties. On March 1st 2009 he scored two goals for the first time in the same Serie A match (Inter-Rome, 3-3). But this was when the insults began, culminating in the deplorable racist chants by Juventus fans during the match in April 2009. However, this didn’t stop Mario winning the Scudetto with Inter once again. In all he has won three Championships with Inter (2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010), plus an Italian Cup (2009-2010), an Italian Super Cup (2008) and the Champions League (2009-2010).

Italian national team debut
In August 2010, two days before this twentieth birthday, Mario made his debut in London with the Italian national team coached by Cesare Prandelli.
It was a very emotional moment for him. And although the Azzurri lost 1-nil at West Ham against the Ivory Coast, everyone agrees that Mario made a great debut.
First season at Manchester City

So many things changed in the space of just a few days in summer 2010: on 13 August, after playing with the Italian national team, Mario flew to Manchester to sign his contract with Manchester City, where he met up again with trainer Roberto Mancini and made his debut by scoring an important goal. In the match against Timisoara in the European League, he scored the goal that put his team in the lead (0-1) 15 minutes after entering the field of play. On 7 November he scored his first and second goals in the Premier League in Manchester City’s 2-0 win against West Bromwich. On 28 December 2010 he scored the first hat trick of his career against Aston Villa. On 14 May 2011, in the 1-0 FA Cup final win against Stoke City at Wembley, he was named “Man of the match”.

First goal for the Italian National team
On 11 November 2011 Mario scored his first goal for the Italian national team (from 30 metres) in the Poland-Italy friendly (0-2) played at Breslavia. His performance earned him enthusiastic comments from all Italian sports players and journalists.
Second season at Manchester City
On 23 October Mario scored two goals in the historic 6-1 derby win against Manchester United. On 22 January 2012 he was fielded in the second half of the Premier League match against Tottenham, earning a penalty which he converted into the winning goal in extra time.
On 13 May he joined in with the team’s celebrations to mark its victory in the Premier League for the first time in 44 years.
European Championships 2012
Mario was on the Italian expedition to Poland-Ukraine and played a leading role in the competition right from the opening group stage, contributing to Italy’s qualification for the final stages with a magnificent overhead shot in the last minute against Ireland.
In the quarter finals Italy played against England. As well as meeting up again with lots of his team mates from Manchester City, after 120 minutes Mario cooly scored the first of the penalties that decided the match.
In the semi final against Germany, Mario played an unforgettable match: his two fantastic goals and extraordinary performance found him a place in the hearts of all Italian fans and he was acclaimed by the national and international press.
Mario joins Milan
The news was officially announced on 29 January 2013: Mario will be back in Italy at AC Milan until 2017. And he’ll play wearing “his” number 45, as usual! The day after the announcement he was greeted in Milan at the airport and in the city centre by crowds of cheering fans. After two and a half seasons playing for Manchester City in the UK’s Premier League, Mario is “coming home” in what for him is a dream come true.
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