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The Italian striker for A.C. Milan, Mario Balotelli, commissioned an artist to build a life-size statue of himself posing shirtless. Said the sculptor tasked with the job: “I presented several drawings but Mario wanted to be immortalized in a pose that shows him having scored a goal, highlighting his muscles and with an expression of defiance.”
Super Mario is not short on self-confidence or crazy stories. He’s kind of a Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocino of soccer: teams tolerate(d) the antics because he’s so talented. Despite reports that the 22-year-old has scuffled with his own teammates and coaches over the years, he’s beloved by fans.
He’s just kind of nuts, but it makes him (and soccer) more interesting. But don’t take it from us. Said his former coach Roberto Mancini, who once described Balotelli as “like another one of my children:” “The problem is because of [Balotelli's] age, he can make some mistakes. He’s Mario. He’s crazy–but I love him because he’s a good guy.” Click on for a rundown of Balotelli’s greatest hits.
2. Got in a car crash in 2010. After police assessed the scene, they wanted to know why Balotelli was carrying about $7,500 dollars in his back pocket. He answered: “Because I am rich.”
3. Super Mario and/or friends set his house on fire in the middle of the night while shooting fireworks from a window in a bathroom.
4. Busted out this shirt the day after the firework incident:
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5. Later that same week, Balotelli was named Greater Manchester’s ambassador for firework safety. “It is important children should not mess with fireworks,” he said. “They can be very dangerous if they are not used in the right way.”
6. Balotelli is allergic to certain types of grass.
7. He threw darts from a window at Manchester City’s youth reserves because he was “bored.”
8. Randomly showed up at Manchester school in his Bentley, walked around with friends for 20 minutes, asked to use a toilet, left.
9. Oops, forgot to mention that his Bentley is camouflaged.
10. Drove into a women’s prison to “have a look round” because he “curious and felt like checking it out.”
11. After finding out some youths were bullying a boy at school, drove the boy and his mother to the school, demanded to see the headmaster, then mediated a meeting between the boys.
12. That hair.
Photo: Getty Images