Mario Balotelli was born in Palermo, Sicily on August 12, 1990 to immigrants from Ghana. The family moved to Bagnolo Mella in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, when he was two.
In 1993, the authorities suggested he be placed into foster care. The Barwuah family gave up the three-year-old boy to an Italian foster family, the Balotellis. His foster parents are Silvia, the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors, and Francesco Balotelli. They lived in the town of Concesio, Brescia, in northern Italy.
At first, he stayed at the Balotellis during the weekdays, and returned to his biological parents on weekends. But after a while he started to be indifferent towards his biological parents and adopted the surname of the Balotellis, and it was arranged for him to be permanently fostered by the Balotellis.
In summer 2006 Mario played a five-day trial at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, scoring 8 goals and putting some unforgettable experiences under his belt. His brothers, who are partners in a foreign trade consultancy, decided that it was up to them to find him the ideal team and entered into a series of negotiations. But Mario’s citizenship was an issue: although he was born in Italy, he was only eligible to become an Italian citizen when he turned eighteen. And that put an end to talks with Barça.
Then, on August 31st, F.C. Internazionale arrived on the scene, made him a good offer and Mario began playing for the club’s Allievi Nazionali (under 16) team. He scored one goal after another and was promoted to the Primavera (under 20) category, scoring 8 goals in 11 matches and helping secure the Bressanone Scudetto for the team. With the Primavera line-up he won both the 2006-07 Scudetto and the Viareggio 2008 Youth Tournament.
Mario’s 2008-2009 season opened with the Italian Super Cup match won on penalties against Rome (8-7), in which he scored Inter’s second goal and one of the penalties. On March 1st 2009 he scored two goals for the first time in the same Serie A match (Inter-Rome, 3-3). But this was when the insults began, culminating in the deplorable racist chants by Juventus fans during the match in April 2009. However, this didn’t stop Mario winning the Scudetto with Inter once again. In all he has won three Championships with Inter (2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010), plus an Italian Cup (2009-2010), an Italian Super Cup (2008) and the Champions League (2009-2010).
So many things changed in the space of just a few days in summer 2010: on 13 August, after playing with the Italian national team, Mario flew to Manchester to sign his contract with Manchester City, where he met up again with trainer Roberto Mancini and made his debut by scoring an important goal. In the match against Timisoara in the European League, he scored the goal that put his team in the lead (0-1) 15 minutes after entering the field of play. On 7 November he scored his first and second goals in the Premier League in Manchester City’s 2-0 win against West Bromwich. On 28 December 2010 he scored the first hat trick of his career against Aston Villa. On 14 May 2011, in the 1-0 FA Cup final win against Stoke City at Wembley, he was named “Man of the match”.
In December 2012, Balotelli decided to fight against Manchester City's decision to fine him two weeks' wages for his poor disciplinary record the previous season by taking his club to a Premier League tribunal. Balotelli missed 11 games domestically and in Europe last season because of suspensions. With less than a day remaining to the start of the hearing, Balotelli dropped his tribunal action and accepted the fine.
The news was officially announced on 29 January 2013: Mario will be back in Italy at AC Milan until 2017. And he’ll play wearing “his” number 45, as usual! The day after the announcement he was greeted in Milan at the airport and in the city centre by crowds of cheering fans. After two and a half seasons playing for Manchester City in the UK’s Premier League, Mario is “coming home” in what for him is a dream come true.
On 21 August 2014, AC Milan agreed a £16 million fee for Balotelli to return to the Premier League with Liverpool. The signing was confirmed on 25 August 2014. Later that day, he watched from the directors' box as Liverpool lost 3–1 at his former club Manchester City. On 31 August, Balotelli made his Liverpool debut, in a league match against Tottenham Hotspur, where his team won 3-0 although he did not score. Balotelli scored his first Liverpool goal on 16 September, opening a 2–1 Anfield victory against Ludogorets Razgrad in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
In August 2010, two days before this twentieth birthday, Mario made his debut in London with the Italian national team coached by Cesare Prandelli.
It was a very emotional moment for him. And although the Azzurri lost 1-nil at West Ham against the Ivory Coast, everyone agrees that Mario made a great debut.
On 11 November 2011 Mario scored his first goal for the Italian national team (from 30 metres) in the Poland-Italy friendly (0-2) played at Breslavia. His performance earned him enthusiastic comments from all Italian sports players and journalists.
European Championships 2012
Mario was on the Italian expedition to Poland-Ukraine and played a leading role in the competition right from the opening group stage, contributing to Italy’s qualification for the final stages with a magnificent overhead shot in the last minute against Ireland.
In the quarter finals Italy played against England. As well as meeting up again with lots of his team mates from Manchester City, after 120 minutes Mario cooly scored the first of the penalties that decided the match.
In the semi final against Germany, Mario played an unforgettable match: his two fantastic goals and extraordinary performance found him a place in the hearts of all Italian fans and he was acclaimed by the national and international press.
2013 FIFA Confederations Cup
On 3 June 2013, he was named in Italy's squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup. In Italy's opening match on 16 June, Balotelli scored a late-winner, helping Italy to beat Mexico 2–1. In Italy's next group match with Japan, Balotelli scored a penalty to make it 3–2 after being 2–0 down in the first half. Italy went on to win the match 4–3, which allowed them to participate in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup for the first time in their history. In Italy's final group match against hosts and eventual champions Brazil, Balotelli set up Giaccherini's temporary 1-1 equaliser with a back-heel, although Italy eventually lost the match 4-2. Prior to the semi-final, Balotelli suffered a thigh injury, preventing him from playing in the remainder of the tournament. Italy finished the tournaament in third place.
2014 FIFA World Cup
On 1 June 2014, Balotelli was selected in Italy's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In Italy's opening match of the tournament, he scored the team's winning goal in a 2–1 defeat of England on 14 June. After the match against England, Balotelli says playing in the World Cup for the first time was "a wonderful sensation to experience" and dedicated the goal to his future wife. Italy lost their next two matches, however, and were eliminated in the first round, finishing third in their group.