Spectacular and crazy Italian striker Mario Balotelli had the best moment of his professional career last night — slotting home two goals in Italy’s upset win over Germany in the Euro 2012 semifinals.
The 21-year-old developed a reputation as a strange, unstable character in the last two years by doing things like: getting in a mock sword fight at an Indian restaurant while violating curfew, stomping on an opponent’s head, burning down his bathroom with fireworks, going to a little boy’s middle school to yell at bullies, giving a homeless man $1,000 in cash outside a casino, getting pulled over with $25,000 sitting in the front seat, throwing darts at youth players, racking up $10,000 in parking tickets, and wearing a shirt that said “Why Always Me?” under his jersey.
But he’s also insanely talented. And after yesterday’s all-time great performance, the world has fallen head-over-heels for Super Mario.
A bus in Italy adopted his perplexing catch phrase:
Someone outside Verona turned him into a crop circle (via @Matthew_Barker):
Here he is hugging his adoptive mum after the win. In the postgame press conference, he said he told his mum, “These goals are for you.”
Another Balotelli bus in Italy:
Here’s what he said of his goal celebration, “My goal celebration? Yes, some people are upset because they saw my physique and they are just jealous!”
He is pretty ripped:
The cover of Gazzetta dello Sport, which ran a racist cartoon depicting Balotelli as a monkey earlier in the week, this morning:
Photo: Gazzetta Dello Sport
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