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Player of the Week - Mario Balotelli

Player of the Week - Mario Balotelli

Look who's back!

Mario Balotelli has returned to the Premier League only 18 months after going back to Italy to play for AC Milan. Liverpool have signed the striker for around £16 million and he becomes Liverpool's 9th summer signing. The Italian striker is seen as one of European football's brightest talents and has already won 7 major trophies with previous clubs Inter Milan and Manchester City.Balotelli is Liverpool's 9th summer signingLiverpool will hope that Balotelli can settle quickly and create a good partnership with Liverpool's other main striker, Daniel Sturridge. If Balotelli and Sturridge can come close to scoring the 52 Premier League goals that Sturridge and Luis Suarez scored last season, the transfer of the Uruguayan may be forgotten.

What do we know about Balotelli?

Balotelli was born in August 1990 in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, which is an Italian island south-west of the Italian mainland. He is the son of Ghanaian immigrants. When he was 2 years old, he moved to Brescia in the north of Italy. In Brescia, Balotelli was put into foster care and was brought up by foster parents, Silvia and Francesco Balotelli. He had to wait until his 18th birthday before he could ask for Italian citizenship and officially become Italian.Balotelli in action against SpursWhen Balotelli scored two goals for Italy in the semi-final of the 2012 European Championships he dedicated his goals to Silvia, his foster mother. Balotelli's first major club was Inter Milan and before his 18th birthday he scored in the Italian Cup Final to help Inter beat Roma to win his first major trophy. Balotelli also became the youngest player in Inter's history to score a goal in the Champions League (18 years and 85 days). His first appearance in England also came in an Inter shirt. He scored twice in a friendly against Sheffield FC, the oldest club in world football, as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations in November 2007.

"I am Italian, I feel Italian, I will forever play for the Italy national team." Mario Balotelli speaking after becoming an Italian citizen in 2008.

Where has Balotelli played?

Balotelli was at AC Milan last seasonIn total, Balotelli made 86 appearances for Inter over three seasons, scoring 28 goals. During his time with Inter he won three league titles, an Italian Cup and the Champions League in 2009/10, although he was an unused substitute in the final against Bayern Munich. In August 2010, Balotelli moved to the Premier League for the first time when Manchester City paid Inter Milan around £20 million for him. Roberto Mancini was Manchester City manager at the time and he was also Balotelli's manager at Inter. He made 80 appearances and scored 30 goals for City and won the Premier League and FA Cup double in 2011/12. In the final game of the 2011/12 season, Balotelli provided the assist for Sergio Aguero to score the 94th minute winner that gave City their first league win in over 40 years.

"There's excitement about him coming here. As a coach, I'm really looking forward to working with him." Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager

In January 2013, Balotelli moved back to Milan but it wasn't a return to Inter, he moved to city rivals AC Milan for about £20 million. He scored 30 goals in only 54 games for AC Milan, which included 2 goals on his debut and 12 goals in his first 13 appearances for the club.

Why is Balotelli called Super Mario?

Super Mario FansHis nickname was originally given to him by Inter Milan fans when he signed for them in 2007. The name comes from the popular Nintendo video game 'Super Mario' and you can often see Italy fans wearing fancy dress to support their favourite player! He often lives up to expectations by scoring super goals in important games and he is well-known for scoring penalties when under pressure. However, Balotelli has had differences with a number of managers he has played under. He famously fell out with Jose Mourinho when they were at Inter together and he also had problems with Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers will need to keep Balotelli's disciplinary problems under control if he wants to see Super Mario scoring goals on the pitch rather than watching with the fans.

"Mario was good fun. I could write a book of 200 pages about my 2 years at Inter with Mario!" Jose Mourinho, who was Balotelli's manager at Inter Milan.

What has Balotelli achieved with Italy?

He scored against England at Brazil 2014Balotelli had to wait a long time to play for Italy. He wasn't allowed to play for the Italian youth teams because he didn't have an Italian passport. He was given the opportunity to play for Ghana but he said no. After finally being given Italian citizenship he was allowed to play for the Italian under-21 team. He made his debut for the senior Italian side in August 2010 and scored his first goal for Italy against Poland in November 2011. Balotelli has played in 2 major tournaments with the Italian national team. He helped Italy reach the final of the 2012 European Championships and he scored against England at Brazil 2014.

Balatolli became the first black player to represent Italy at a major football championships and often speaks out against racism in football. He is a supporter of many charities including Doctors without Borders and appears as the hero of a children's book for this charity, which has allowed Balotelli to write about racism and discrimination in football.

" I am proud to be black and Italian. I've learned from my family that no one is 'upside down' simply because he speaks, prays or thinks differently."  Mario Balotelli.

Watch a video about Mario Balotelli and his career so far on Liverpool's official website.

Balotelli will be hoping to score a lot of goals for Liverpool this season, Getty.

What did you understand?

 
How much did you understand?
Activity 1: In this activity, try to answer the questions to show how much of the article you understand.

 


 

Put the words together as quick as you can.
Activity 2: Have a go at this game against the clock. Can you put the words in the right order?

 


 

Did you know......?

  • Super Mario is huge on social media. @FinallyMario has over 3 million followers on twitter and over 9 million fans on Facebook!
  • It took Balotelli only 24 minutes to score on his debut for AC Milan.
  • Balotelli has always worn number 45 on his shirt. He says it brings him luck.
  • In November 2011, Balotelli got a red card whan playing for Manchester City at Anfield!
  • Balotelli is friends with hip-hop star Drake. Balotelli was mentioned in one of Drake's songs and Balotelli dedicated a goal to the rap star.
Balotelli in action on his Liverpool debut against Tottenham Hotspur, Getty.

Quiz

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What do you think?

Will Balotelli be a hit?

Will Balotelli be a success at Liverpool?

Do you think he can win another Premier League winners' medal?

Who will score more goals? Balotelli or Daniel Sturridge?

What can we do to stop racism in football?

 

 

Leave a message in the comments section below and tell us what you think :)

 

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Comments

batric.janjic
26/06/2018
ME
117
points

Balotelli has a strong caracter. And
It’s not simple to andertand him.
But I think he is a good man and he was a good football player.


batric.janjic
26/06/2018 23:39
Montenegro
Chelsea
117

Balotelli has a strong caracter. And
It’s not simple to andertand him.
But I think he is a good man and he was a good football player.

HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016
TR
1761
points

We can raise public awareness against racism in football.


HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016 01:02
Turkey
Leicester City
1761

We can raise public awareness against racism in football.

HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016
TR
1761
points

Of course Balotelli


HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016 01:01
Turkey
Leicester City
1761

Of course Balotelli

HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016
TR
1761
points

He couldn't


HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016 01:01
Turkey
Leicester City
1761

He couldn't

HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016
TR
1761
points

I wasn't sure.


HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
25/03/2016 01:01
Turkey
Leicester City
1761

I wasn't sure.

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
23/02/2016
PS
3705
points

Sturridge


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
23/02/2016 16:04
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

Sturridge

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
23/02/2016
PS
3705
points

No.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
23/02/2016 16:04
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3705

No.

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015
RW
2320
points

I remember his statement"why always me" stopping racism is easy, just see others like you and don't compare them with animals. We're all human


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015 04:53
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

I remember his statement"why always me" stopping racism is easy, just see others like you and don't compare them with animals. We're all human

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
28/11/2015
ME
3557
points

I remember time when he played for Inter against Rubin. Mourinho was begging him on the half time to calm down since he was already booked once, and coach didn't have any other option in attack. And what happened? In 46'min he received a straight red card!


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
28/11/2015 20:26
Montenegro
Arsenal
3557

I remember time when he played for Inter against Rubin. Mourinho was begging him on the half time to calm down since he was already booked once, and coach didn't have any other option in attack. And what happened? In 46'min he received a straight red card!

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015
RW
2320
points

Poor discipline, but today he's more calm


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015 04:54
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

Poor discipline, but today he's more calm

nikosonris
13/11/2015
UA
2453
points

He used to be a very promising player, but with poor discipline I doubt that he would be a hit.


nikosonris
13/11/2015 13:32
Ukraine
Arsenal
2453

He used to be a very promising player, but with poor discipline I doubt that he would be a hit.

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
02/11/2015
ME
3557
points

I think he'll never be a complete player. He's a troublemaker.


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
02/11/2015 19:29
Montenegro
Arsenal
3557

I think he'll never be a complete player. He's a troublemaker.

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015
RW
2320
points

Hmmmm, he can be a good player, he lacks management


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015 04:57
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

Hmmmm, he can be a good player, he lacks management

almirpereira's picture
almirpereira
26/10/2015
BR
1315
points

vERY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


almirpereira's picture
almirpereira
26/10/2015 16:58
Brazil
Chelsea
1315

vERY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015
RW
2320
points

More helpful to know player's history


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
03/12/2015 04:55
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

More helpful to know player's history

EngFilipe's picture
EngFilipe
28/10/2014
BR
0
points

Balotelli needs more confidence and calmness to play, he is a good striker.but no one of the best in the world. Sturridge is better than him, and will score more.


EngFilipe's picture
EngFilipe
28/10/2014 18:46
Brazil
Liverpool
0

Balotelli needs more confidence and calmness to play, he is a good striker.but no one of the best in the world. Sturridge is better than him, and will score more.

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1kwesimanifest4711
2assemjuve3705
3aragorn19863557
4Liubomyr3335
5haydi3189
6elghoul3025
7Ahmed Adam Mamado2859
8Alex_from_Ukraine2706
9nikosonris2453
10Buchiy2417
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia64315
2Ukraine26978
3Serbia25805
4Albania20415
5Macedonia19058
6Spain17218
7Bosnia and Herzegovina16217
8Armenia13360
9Kosovo13096
10Bolivia12677
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United115131
2Liverpool68510
3Chelsea66959
4Arsenal65216
5Manchester City32702
6Leicester City10637
7Tottenham Hotspur7166
8Newcastle United6332
9West Ham United4496
10Watford3968

Level

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Goals

In this article, you will:

Practise reading.

Learn all about Liverpool's Italian star, Mario Balotelli, and learn some new vocabulary.

Tips

Checking Vocabulary

How do you check the meaning of a word that you don't understand? In the text about Mario Balotelli, some of the difficult words are in blue and you can click on them to find the pronunciation, meaning and an example sentence. But what if the word you don't know is not in blue?

I use Google Chrome and have added the Google Dictionary extension to my toolbar. I can click on any word in any text and get the meaning, pronunciation and an example sentence using that word.

Remember!

Many words have more than one meaning, so look at the sentence a second time to check you are looking at the correct definition.

Rich - The Premier Skills English Team.

Extension

Find out about how discrimination in football is being tackled in the UK on the Kick it Out website.

There are also classroom resources that can be downloaded from the Show Racism the Red Card website.