MARIO BALOTELLI: How The Most Interesting Man In Soccer Spends His Millions

Mario Balotelli, the 23-year-old striker who will lead Italy into the 2014 World Cup, has been one of the great joys of following soccer in recent years.

He has provided moments of pure genius on the field, and moments of pure entertainment off of it.

Whether it’s burning down his bathroom with a firework, camouflaging his Bentley, or holding a private audience with the Pope, Balotelli never seems to be too far from the gossip pages.

He’s also a big spender, with a bunch of cars and a life-sized statue of himself.

He makes ~$7 million per year in salary at AC Milan.

Source: The Guardian

He also makes big money off the field with an endorsement deal with Puma.

He wore cleats covered in his own newspaper headlines when Nike, Adidas, and Puma were all bidding for his signature in 2013.

He's the most expensive player in Italy. His market value of ~$50 million is 21st in the world.

At age 23, he's Italy's biggest mainstream star. He's also its most controversial...

He's a wild spender. He's been spotted with a Ferrari, Bentley, Audi, and Maserati.

Source: Swide

He says he gave his $US250,000 camouflage Bentley to a teammate, who changed the colour.

Source: SI

He rented a $US3 million house when he played for Manchester City.

Source: Daily Mail

He had to temporarily move out of the house in 2012 after fireworks at his birthday party burned down his bathroom.

Source: Daily Mail

His new house in Milan features a gold fountain and a life-sized statue of himself.

Source: SI

While at Manchester City he amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

He got fined one week's pay ($200,000) for going to a club two nights before a game.

Source: BBC

In December 2012, he accepted a $US570,000 fine for (among other things) stomping on an opponent's head and getting suspended.

(image url='http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f1dca66ecad04cc2a000023/balotelliparker.gif' alt='Balotelli stomps on scott parker's head gif' link='lightbox' size='secondary' align='right' clear='true')

Source: Manchester Evening News

His car was ticketed 27 times in his first few months in England, resulting in $US16,000 in fines.

Source: ESPN

He once got into a fist-fight with his own coach at Manchester City practice.

Source: Sky Sports

In 2011 he unveiled a 'Why Always Me?' shirt after scoring a goal against Manchester United. Such shirts have since been banned by FIFA.

Source: Metro

He was a constant UK tabloid fixture while at Man City, most for his love life.

Balotelli's ex-girlfriend Raffaella Fico.

He's now dating Belgian model Fanny Neguesha.

There are rumours that the two are on the rocks before the World Cup, but nothing is confirmed.

Source: Daily Mail

For all his antics on and off the field, he's relatively harmless. He's not hurting anyone or getting in any real trouble.

He got a private meeting with the Pope.

He showed a glimpse of the real Mario when he hugged his adoptive mother, Silvia, after a Euro 2012 game.

Silvia might have even more swagger than Mario.

He has suffered racial abuse throughout his career, even from Italy fans, but has always responded with class.

In perfect Mario fashion, he announced his arrival in Brazil by posting a photo of himself as Christ the Redeemer.

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