ROME, Italy, November 10 – Unpredictable Italian striker Mario Balotelli said on Wednesday he was capable of doing surprising things but he was not crazy.
The 21-year-old – who has produced some scintillating football for English Premier League leaders Manchester City this season – has earned a reputation for some outlandish behaviour both in Italy and now in England.
The latest episode saw him implicated in an incident at his home when the fire services had to be called after fireworks were set off inside a bathroom – he denied being responsible.
“I do do some surprising things, sometimes they are amusing, but I am not crazy,” said Balotelli, who bounced back two days after the fireworks escapade to score a brace in the 6-1 demolition of city rivals United.
“When you are famous, people are interested in your private life, and it tires me to talk about this subject,” added Balotelli, who after scoring in the United thrashing lifted up his shirt to reveal a slogan ‘Why always me?’ for which he was booked.
Balotelli, who is due to start in the international friendlies with Poland on Friday and Copa America champions Uruguay on Tuesday, attacked the English tabloid press, who most recently have linked him with 32-year-old pornographic film actress Holly Henderson.
“The English papers like the ‘Sun’ are worse than their Italian counterparts,” said Balotelli.
“A paper who puts naked women on the front page (they are actually on the third page) disgusts me.
“In this case, I prefer Italy.”
Balotelli, who said he was hoping to score his first international goal in the friendlies, expressed his hope that the mindless racist chants aimed at him during his time at Inter Milan will not materialise in the friendly against Poland.
“I chose Italy (he is the Italian-born son of Ghanaian parents but subsequently adopted by an Italian couple and only opted for Italian citizenship three years ago),” he said.
“Racism is pure ignorance, I simply hope that certain things are not repeated,” he added.
Balotelli said that he had no regrets at leaving Serie A for the Premier League.
“Am I nostalgic? Not atall. Serie A has lost ground, the Premier (League) is a huge championship and I am playing for the strongest team.”
Earlier on Wednesday Naples daily newspaper ‘Il Mattino’ had published the answers the striker had given to the judicial investigators on September 15 with regard to an investigation into the local mafia, the Camorra.
Balotelli was called on by the investigators because of a stroll he took with one of the Camorra chiefs Marco Iorio in June in the Scampia district of Naples, a Camorra stronghold in the city – Iorio has since been arrested on money laundering charges.
Balotelli said that he did not know who Iorio was and that he had turned round and left the area when he saw that there were “packets containing illegal drugs on a table”.