Mario Balotelli is, once again, in the headlines for his on-the-field heroics and villainies.
The Italian was only on the pitch for 30 minutes of Manchester City's Premier League clash with Spurs yet still managed to have all eyes pointing to him in the aftermath.
With seven minutes to go and all things tied at 2-2, the 21-year-old lost his balance after shooting caught Tottenham's Scott Parker with a flailing boot.
At first glance it appeared that the collision was accidental as the Manchester City striker fell to the floor, but replays suggested he regained his balance before deliberately kicking out at the unassuming Tottenham midfielder's head.
As if this controversy was not enough to grab the headlines, Balotelli then won and converted a 94th minute penalty to ensure that it was him, and him alone, that had cornered the entire back pages of Monday's press.
The former Inter Milan player came to Manchester already with a reputation of controversy and this was compounded four months after his arrival to the Premier League when he won the Golden Boy Award, given to the best under-21 player, saying that only one of its past winners was slightly better than he was. That person...three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. He also claimed not to have even heard of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, who he narrowly beat to the award.
On and off the field Balotelli has achieved evident notoriety since his £24 million move to the Etihad Stadium. Red cards against Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Dynamo Kiev are counter-balanced by a Man of the Match performance during an FA Cup final win, a goal every other game record and his side's two opening goals in the 6-1 demolition of their Manchester neighbours. The first of these well-taken strikes was celebrated by revealing a t-shirt with the words 'Why always me?' emblazoned on it, in response to the various tabloid rumours about him.
Within days of touching down in the UK, Balotelli was involved in a car crash. It was reported that he was carrying £5,000 cash to which a police officer queried why with Balotelli replying, "Because I am rich".
And reportedly earning £180,000 a week, he is. However, his wealth is also matched by his generosity. The enigmatic forward once gave £1,000 cash to a homeless man and over Christmas he donated £200 to his local church and then visited a pub in Chorlton where he bought a £1,000 round.
Another Balotelli tale involved the Italian picking up a truant schoolboy in his Bentley, taking him back to school and confronting the head teacher about the bullying to which the boy was being subjected.
Balotelli once went to a women's prison 'just to see what it was like', and drove his car right up to Manchester City's Carrington training ground's automatic doors, just to see if they would still open.
Last November, on the day before a match, a firework was set off in Balotelli's home and the fire emergency services had to be called, but without even a continental shrug of the shoulders he was later that week unveiled as an ambassador for a national firework safety campaign, before a 40ft effigy of him was burned at the annual fireworks display at Edenbridge, Kent.
These modern day football fables have obviously concerned and bemused his coach and fellow countryman Roberto Mancini, who is as clueless about his behavior as the rest of us mesmerised football fans, "He is a strange man. A good man, a kind man, but I do not understand him. It feels as if I need my own special translator, just for Mario."
But as long as for every quad bike track in his front garden there is a goal scored with his shoulder, we do not mind. If E4 want to commission another reality soap, then it's got to be The Only Way Is Mario. I, for one, would series link it.
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one of the worst people on the planet, abuse arrogant self centered and angry, and he is like a spoil child that always whats his way or not at all.
should be thrown out of football, and no im not a red or any other prem footy fan either before others start.
Come on Andrew.
If the roles were reversed and it was Scott Parker claiming it was accidental, we may believe it. But Balotelli has done this time and time again. He just seems to have that 'switch' that sees him lash out....why???.... I have no idea!!!
I am a City fan and I think the guy has something special. He is an incredible finisher and seems to be able to find a yard to shoot as well as anyone, even though he is not that fast. But until he gets over this instinct to lash out, he will always be more a liability than an asset.
Mancini's problem now is he could have another Tevez on his hands in that they won't get back what they paid and he is on a BIG money contract, so he can't say what he surely thinks!
Drum him out of the game in England.
He's an animal, ban him now.
Mancini and the FA should act immediately, ship him out.
One ref two linesmen who are also refs plus another ref and none of them seen it happen,
specksavers comes to mind but my opinion is that the FA should lookinto this diabolical behaviour and ban balotelli for five games. as a liverpool player got eight game ban for racial attack on a player in my book this is worse and i call for balotelli to get a ban,