AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli thanks Italy for increasing his popularity
The notorious AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli claims he owe his increased popularity in Italy to national football team. Mario Balotelli became pride of the nation as the former Manchester City striker helped Italy grab a 2-2 against heavyweights Brazil.
Italy went two goals down before recording a remarkable second-half comeback. Mario Balotelli played pivotal role in the Azzurri rejuvenation. Mario Balotelli left Italy in 2010 after a turbulent time with Inter Milan.
Mario Balotelli joined Roberto Mancini at Manchester City, but his notoriously callous attitude and turbulent form drove him out of the Eastlands. Soon enough Mario Balotelli was in the mix for his dream move to AC Milan.
Since returning to Italy, Mario Balotelli has been in superb form for club and country. The young Italian has come a long way since scoring a brace in a 2-1 semifinal victory over Germany at Euro 2012.
“Many people like me, but not everybody,” Mario Balotelli said as Italy prepares for their World Cup qualifier against Malta. “After Euro 2012 I noted that my popularity increased. Thanks to the Italy squad, now fans of other clubs are starting to like me too. I can see from the way they act around me.”
“The Nazionale has something special, something more. I can't explain it, it's above all else.”
Mario Balotelli might have become an inspiring figure for many, but the striker still has a lot of criticism directed towards him. Just last month, Mario Balotelli was subjected to a lot racism in the Milan derby.
“Racism makes me annoyed, angry and disappointed,” Mario Balotelli said. “Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be enough improvement in this area here. I agree with Kevin-Prince Boateng, to escape from racism we all have to contribute together.”
Mario Balotelli’s stunning goal against Brazil on Thursday has taken the Italian’s tally to eight goals in eight games for club and country since switching from Manchester City during the January transfer window.
“I've never had a big head,” Mario Balotelli continued. “I do not consider myself to be the best in the world, nor the worst. I am me. I have been changing for a while, it's just that before you couldn't see the improvements. I've matured, I'm growing. I'm not 17 anymore, with experience you grow.”
Mario Balotelli is now looking forward to scoring against Malta in Tuesday. Italy are currently the group leader with ten points from four games. Bulgaria is second and Brazil third.