Striker Mario Balotelli joined City from Internazionale in August 2010, bringing with him both Champions League and Serie A-winning experience. He joined AC Milan for €20m on January 2013.
Born in Palermo, Italy in 1990, Balotelli overcame an initial life-threatening illness to begin his career with Lumezzane. He made his senior debut at the age of 15 against Padova in the Serie C1.
In 2006 after just two appearances for Lumezzane, ‘Super Mario’ went on loan to Internazionale. He started his career at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the under-17 squad before joining the Primavera under-20 team.
The promising young striker’s first-team debut came in December 2007 as a substitute. Three days later he scored two goals during Inter’s 4-1 Coppa Italia win against Reggina. That season he also scored in the Supercoppa Italiana final against Roma.
Balotelli signed a three-year deal with Inter ahead of the 2008/09 season. In November 2008 he became the youngest Inter player to score in the Champions League when he netted against Anorthosis Famagusta. He has since continued to impress by helping Inter win the 2010 Champions League, Coppa Italia and Serie A trophies, scoring 20 goals in 59 appearances.
Mario made 16 appearances for the Italian under 21s, scoring six goals. He won his first full cap for Italy during a 1-0 defeat to Ivory Coast in August 2010 and has since become a regular for the Azzurri.
By the end of the 2011/12 season, Mario had scored 27 goals in 60 appearances for City and he has become a cult figure among supporters in the process. He is also regarded as one of the best penalty-takers in the world and has a 100% record for the Blues.
A special talent, there is rarely a dull moment with Mario around! (mcfc)