Sports News of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: AP

Mario Balotelli to Visit Ghana Next Summer

Manchester City football club midfielder Yaya Toure said he has convinced his Manchester City team mate, Mario Balotelli to visit Accra, Ghana next summer.

Mario Barwuah Balotelli was born in Palermo to Christian Ghanaian parents Thomas and Rose Barwuah. Balotelli had life-threatening complications with intestines as a child which led to a series of operations. Due to Mario’s health problems and his family’s poor living conditions, they decided to ask for the help of social services who recommended that he be fostered.

In 1993, Mario’s parents agreed to entrust their 3-year-old son to an Italian family, the Balotellis. He stayed with the Balotellis during the weekdays and return home to his parents for the weekend at first, but later it was arranged for him to be permanently fostered by the Balotellis.

When Mario Balotelli became famous through football, his biological parents asked for his return. He was infuriated and accused them of ‘glory-hunting’, stating that they only wanted him back because of the prominence he had gained.

When Balotelli was 18, he officially gained Italian citizenship after which he released the following statement; “I am Italian, I feel Italian, I will forever play with the Italian National Team.”

Mario has three biological siblings: Abigail, Enoch and Angel Barwuah. 20-year-old Enoch just signed for Salford City on November 16, 2012 after trials at Stoke City and Sunderland.

Mario Balotelli has always resented his parents for giving him up. He probably holds same against his country as he has never readily accepted any connection with Ghana. He seems to prefer his birth country in everything.

On August 7, 2007, five days before Mario Balotelli’s birthday, Ghanaian National Team Coach Claude Le Roy gave him his first senior international call-up for Ghana, but he declined, preferring to wait till he turned 18 and gained Italian citizenship so he could play for Italy.

His character on and off the pitch has been questionable with so many regarding him as a bad example for kids.

“I told him, if you played with me 10 years ago I would give you every day maybe one punch in your head. There are different ways to help a guy like Mario. I don’t speak with him every day, otherwise I would need a psychologist, but I speak with him because I don’t want him to lose his quality. If Mario is not one of the best players in the world it will be his fault, because he has everything. Mario can be one of the top players in Europe. I don’t want him to lose his talent,” Mancini said about Balotelli in April, 2012.

Balotelli has also been given a reputation by the media for being a difficult character and taking part in questionable and often amusing activities. He was once described by Jose Mourinho as “unmanageable.”

In June 2010, Balotelli and a group of friends fired air pistols in the open in Milan’s Piazza della Repubblica. Although denying that he is “crazy” as his mentor Roberto Mancini frequently claims, Balotelli has admitted that he “sometimes does strange things”. In 2010, he was photographed in the company of two noted Mafia mobsters.

Since joining Manchester City, he has a gained a cult following, particularly with Manchester City supporters regularly sing a song with lyrics which make reference to his activities. Musician Tinchy Stryder recorded a song in Balotelli’s honour.

In July 2012, Balotelli’s former girlfriend Raffaella Fico claimed that she was pregnant with his child. Balotelli issued a statement that he has no intention of shirking his paternal responsibilities (like his father did) if he has proof he is the father.

Despite talks about his character, there is no doubt about his ability as a footballer and this has ensured his success hitherto.

Ivorian midfielder and Manchester teammate Yaya Toure thinks it’s time he visited his country, Ghana. Toure said he had already spoken with Balotelli and “now we’ve agreed.”

Football pundits believe his journey to Ghana will achieve a lot more than he could ever imagine as his story would serve as inspiration to many Ghanaian and African youths.