Profile: The life and times of Mario Balotelli

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Eccentric Italian striker Mario Balotelli is expected to complete his transfer to Liverpool in the coming hours, as the talented yet temperamental forward will sign from AC Milan for $26 million and seal his return to the Premier League.

So much has happened in Balotelli’s career, we felt it was necessary for a timeline of events to try and break it all down. Above is a cool video, thanks to Football Daily for that, which showcases the top 10 most bizarre moments he’s been involved in. There are countless others which didn’t make the cut.

[RELATED: Balotelli arrives in Liverpool]

Below is a timeline of Balotelli’s life from his birth until now, as the Italian international forward has been on quite the journey during the first 24 years of his life.  After his signing is complete, Liverpool’s fans will be hoping there is plenty more success to add to this in the coming years for Super Mario.

Enjoy sifting through the life and time of Mario, so far.

Early life and Inter Milan

  • Born in Palermo, Italy on 12 August 1990, to Thomas and Rose Barwuah
  • Spent two years in hospital with intestinal problems as a baby
  • Placed into foster care with elderly Italian couple in Brescia, Italy, Silvia and Francesco Balotelli’s
  • Plays for lower league side Lumezzane from age 9-16
  • Aged 11, claimed he’d be Italy’s first black player on national team
  • Joins Inter Milan at age of 16 in 2007
  • Makes first team debut for Inter at the age of 17, came on as sub vs. Caligari 16 December 2007
  • Became an Italian citizen at the age of 18
  • Photographed with two notable Italian mobsters, enraging Inter boss Roberto Mancini
  • Suspended from Inter’s first team in 2009 by Jose Mourinho after several disciplinary problems
  • Subjected to racists chants in Italy by fans of opposition teams throughout 2009-10

Manchester City

  • In August 2010, joins Manchester City for $30 million on his 20th birthday, teaming up with Mancini again
  • On that same day, 10 Aug. 2010, he made his debut for the Italian national team vs. Ivory Coast
  • Drove into a women’s prison in Italy with his brother, ‘to take a look around’
  • Set his house on fire after lighting fireworks in his bathroom and shooting them out the window
  • Was found guilty of throwing darts at City’s academy players because he was ‘bored’
  • Won the FA Cup with Man City in 2011, their first trophy in 35 years
  • The famous “Why Always Me?” celebration occurred in City’s 6-1 win over Man United on Oct. 23, 2011
  • On May 13, 2012, set up Aguero to score City’s game-winning goal in the final seconds of the season, winning them the title
  • Scored twice vs. Germany in Italy’s 2-1 Euro 2012 semifinal, ran to the crowd and hugged his adopted mother
  • Has a training ground bust up with manager Roberto Mancini, plus other players, which led to his departure from City

AC Milan

  • Transferred to AC Milan in January 2013 for $30 million
  • Scored 12 goals in first 13 games for AC Milan in his first season back in Serie A
  • Subject of further racist abuse while back playing in Italy, and even from fans of the Italian national team
  • Scores winner in World Cup opener for Italy vs. England, his first World Cup appearance
  • Takes on-pitch ‘selfie’ during a preseason friendly vs. Man City for AC Milan in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • On August 22, 2014, arrives in Liverpool to tie up $26 million transfer. Back in England after a near two-year absence

WATCH: USMNT’s Pulisic cues up ex-Man City teen for 1st goal

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Jadon Sancho made history for English players in Germany thanks to a little help from an American teenager.

Christian Pulisic dribbled free from a pack of would-be tacklers to cue up the ex-Manchester City player for a finish against Bayer Leverkusen in the 13th minute of a match at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.

[ MORE: Klopp rips West Brom ]

Sancho just turned 18 on March 25, and becomes the youngest English goal scorer in Bundesliga history having entered the match with one assist in 415 Bundesliga minutes.

As for 19-year-old Pulisic, the USMNT prodigy has five goals and seven assists in 39 matches across all competitions this season.

Dele, Alexis trade 1st half goals in FA Cup semi (video)

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Paul Pogba made amends for an early marking error that led to a Spurs opener by setting up Alexis Sanchez’s equalizer as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are tied at 1 after 45 minutes of their FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium.

[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]

Spurs went ahead through Dele, as Pogba lost Christian Eriksen as the Dane raced onto a long ball. Eriksen crossed to the back post for Dele’s sliding finish.

Pogba made amends in his preferred third of the pitch, stealing the ball from a Mousa Dembele and lofting an inch-perfect cross for Alexis to nod home. The headed finish was anything but easy, hit across the goal while falling to the pitch.

Sunderland relegated for second-straight season

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It’s one-and-done for Sunderland in the Championship, though not in the way expected by most  supporters of the Black Cats.

[ RECAP: WBA 2-2 Liverpool ]

Relegated from the Premier League under David Moyes‘ guidance last season, Sunderland lost Saturday to leave them six points back of safety with two to play.

But either Burton Albion or Bolton will get at least a point from a match against each other, meaning Sunderland would need at least seven when all is said and done.

  • Twenty-one clubs have been relegated since the start of the 2010-11 season.
  • Six have sunk as low as League One (including Sunderland)
  • Seven returned to the Premier League (including Wolves for 18-19)
  • Ten are currently in the Championship

It’s a message to all Premier League sides expecting favorite status in the Championship, including likely relegation side West Bromwich Albion.

Here’s how the most recent sides have fared since dropping out of the top flight.

Relegated sides this decade, and current status
*club still alive for 2018-19 promotion to Premier League
#club could be relegated from current league

Hull City (2016-17) — Championship
Middlesbrough (2016-17) — Championship*
Sunderland (2016-17) — Relegated to League One
Newcastle United (2015-16) — Returned to PL in one season
Norwich City (2015-16) — Championship
Aston Villa (2015-16) — Championship*
Hull City (2014-15) — Promoted at first chance, then relegated last season
Burnley (2014-15) — Promoted at first chance
Queens Park Rangers (2014-15) — Championship
Norwich City (2013-14) — Has since been promoted, relegated back to Championship
Fulham (2013-14) — Championship*
Cardiff City (2013-14) — Championship*
Wigan Athletic (2012-13) — promoted to Championship for 2018-19
Reading (2012-13) — Championship#
Queens Park Rangers (2012-13) — Since promoted, relegated back to Championship
Bolton (2011-12) — Championship#
Blackburn (2011-12) — League One*
Wolves (2011-12) — Promoted to Premier League this season
Birmingham City (2010-11) — Championship#
Blackpool (2010-11) — League One
West Ham United (2010-11) — Promoted at first chance, still PL

LIVE, FA Cup semifinal: Man United v Tottenham

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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur clash in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Saturday (12:15 p.m. ET kick off) with both Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho aiming to keep alive their only remaining hope of winning a trophy this season.

[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]

For Spurs, they are certainly used to playing at Wembley after calling it home all season long while their new stadium is completed. Yet Harry Kane and Co. know they will keep hearing about how they need to win a trophy to prove themselves as Spurs have gone 10 years without a piece of silverware.

Mourinho is the master of grinding out wins in these kind of situations but United were dominated by Spurs at Wembley back in January in the PL and were lucky to escape with just a 2-0 defeat.

[ MORE: Minute-by-minute on United v Spurs ]

Click on the links above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis live from Wembley right here on Pro Soccer Talk.