World Football: Mario Balotelli's Career in Numbers
Mario Balotelli is one of the most controversial figures in world football at the moment and in just six seasons he has gone from squad player at Inter Milan to polarizing figure at Manchester City and now AC Milan.
Balotelli swapped England for Italy towards the end of January as he looks to find the excellent form he was in last season.
Towards the end of his time at Manchester City, Balotelli became more of a distraction than an asset but it seems like the change of scenery has done him well so far.
While there has been plenty of attention, and rightfully so, to the 22-year-old Italian forward's off-field antics, his actions on the pitch are also something to write home about.
Here is a guide to the tumultuous but young career of Balotelli in numbers.
45: Shirt Number
Let us start with the most significant number that represents Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli has worn No. 45 at every one of the three clubs that he has played at.
When he began his career at Inter Milan, Balotelli was assigned the shirt number, and he kept the same number throughout his career at Manchester City.
When he arrived at City, Balotelli was able to take the shirt number away from Greg Cunningham, who was a left-back at the club (via Daily Mail).
Balotelli continued the tradition of wearing No. 45 when he moved to AC Milan in January.
3: Top Flight Clubs He Has Played for
At just 22 years of age, Balotelli has already been a part of three legendary clubs that play at the highest level.
Balotelli played three full seasons at Inter Milan before joining up with former Inter manager Roberto Mancini at Manchester City.
In his two and a half seasons at the Etihad Stadium, Balotelli developed into one of the most polarizing personalities in world football.
Now, Balotelli is once again calling the San Siro his home pitch, but he has made the switch to AC Milan instead of moving back to Inter.
The number three also represents the number of goals that Balotelli has scored in his first two matches for the Rossoneri.
17: Professional Debut and Italy Appearances
The number 17 has two important meanings for Balotelli.
The number represents the age at which he made his top flight debut and the amount of appearances he has made on international duty for Italy.
Balotelli broke on to the Serie A stage on Dec. 16, 2007, when he replaced David Suazo in Inter Milan's match against Cagliari.
After that debut, Balotelli went on to play in 86 matches in all competitions for Inter before leaving for England in summer 2010.
Seventeen also represents the number of appearances that Balotelli has earned for the Azzurri.
Balotelli debuted for the Azzurri on Aug. 10, 2010 against the Ivory Coast, and he has been a mainstay in the squad ever since.
5: Goals for Italy
In his 17 appearances for Italy, Balotelli has netted five goals.
Balotelli's first goal for his country came on Nov. 11, 2011, when he scored in a friendly against Poland, which was won 2-0 by the Azzurri.
The 22-year-old forward had to wait until June 18, 2012 to score his next goal for Italy in the final group match of Euro 2012 against the Republic of Ireland.
In the semifinals of Euro 2012, Balotelli came alive and doubled his international goal tally by scoring two goals against Germany in a 2-1 victory.
The latest goal that Balotelli scored for Italy came back on Oct.16, 2012 when he scored the final goal in the Azzurri's 3-1 win over Denmark in a World Cup qualifier.
1: Press Conference Interruption
Balotelli caught everyone by surprise last March when casually walked in on Inter Milan's introductory press conference for manager Andrea Stramaccioni (via Daily Mail).
The interruption came as an absolute surprise to everyone as Balotelli was in the middle of a season with Manchester City during the time of the press conference.
The storming of the press conference was just one of many reasons why Balotelli was criticized for his off-field antics instead of just focusing his play on the pitch.
13: Premier League Goals in 2011-12
Last season, Balotelli had his best season as a professional by scoring 13 goals in 23 EPL matches.
The 13 goals were a career-high in league play for the Italian who filled in for Carlos Tevez, who had a bit of a dispute with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini last season.
The excellent goal scoring form of Balotelli helped the Citizens earn the EPL title.
Unfortunately for Balotelli, he did not have the honor of scoring the title-winning goal, an honor that was reserved for Sergio Aguero.
61: Total Club Goals
Over the span of his six seasons playing at the highest levels of European football, Balotelli has scored a total of 61 goals in all competitions.
In his first professional season with Inter Milan, Balotelli scored a total of seven goals, four of which came in four appearances in the Coppa Italia.
The highest amount of goals that Balotelli has scored in a single season is 17, a number that was earned last season by the 22-year-old forward with Manchester City in all competitions.
This season, Balotelli only scored three goals for City, but he has already scored the same amount in his short time at AC Milan.
One thing is for sure: Balotelli's goal total will most certainly be inflated by the end of the season with the goal-scoring prowess he has shown early on for the Rossoneri.
9: Trophies Won
Not many people realize how successful Balotelli has been in young career.
Balotelli has already won nine trophies with Inter Milan and Manchester City.
The first title came at the end of the 2007-08 season when he won his first of three Serie A titles with Inter.
Before leaving Inter, Balotelli won the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italia and UEFA Champions League once.
The trophy winning did stop once he reached Manchester City, as he won the 2011 FA Cup, 2011-12 English Premier League and 2012 Community Shield while playing for the Citizens.
Balotelli also has a runners-up medal from Euro 2012, when Italy fell to Spain in the final of that tournament.
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