As the legend of Mario Balotelli continues to grow, so too does his market value.
When the young Balotelli was plucked away from lower league Lumezzane by Inter, there were already whispers about his incredible potential at a young age.
With a reputation that had more to do with his off-field antics than what he actually did on it, it was viewed as a risk when Manchester City decided to spend around €22m on the services of the Italian striker.
Balotelli's tenure in England was polarizing at best. A few goals were negated by a steady stream of appearances in the tabloids for committing the most idiotic and petty of disturbances.
He was essentially turned into a media icon, but not for the reasons you'd hope for.
Whether it was a case of him awkwardly fumbling through the arduous task of donning a practice bib, or having a firework nearly burn down his bathroom, Balotelli seemed to be at the center of the most shocking news stories on an almost weekly basis.
|Mario Balotelli Transfers|
|Lumezzane to Inter||€150,000|
|Inter to Manchester City||€22m|
|Manchester City to Milan||€19m|
Since joining the Rossoneri last January, Balotelli has scored 18 goals in 25 domestic appearances, a world-class rate for Serie A strikers.
As a matter of fact, Luca Toni is the only person to score more than 30 goals in a Serie A season since 1957, an incredible tally when you consider the amount of times strikers are able to find the back of the net in leagues like the Spanish La Liga.
Despite Balotelli's prolific record in front of goal, he has still been mired in controversy and hasn't been able to keep his continuity due to various suspensions because of idiotic fouls.
As a matter of fact, Super Mario has accrued more yellow cards (seven) than goals this season (six).
Despite the needless fouls, he's still one of the most talented players on the peninsula and can turn the tide of the game with one unexpected moment of sheer brilliance.
All of this—as well as his worldwide popularity, which was capitalized on by TIME Magazine when it named him one of the 100 most influential people—has certainly elevated his stock. Mario Balotelli should be worth somewhere around €35m.
That figure is hardly inflated when you start taking a look at what other players are going for around Europe.
Roma sold Erik Lamela to Tottenham for the equivalent of €30m, which makes you wonder just how much more someone like Mario Balotelli could go for in this market that has been inflated by newly rich sides over the past few seasons.
Now that Milan has turned into a club that has to sell in order to buy, don't be surprised if Balotelli is one potential sale if the right offer comes in next summer.
Even though Adriano Galliani has said that he's untouchable, these are only words. Every player is available for the right price, as we've seen in the past.
In the end, Balotelli's value has undoubtedly risen and should continue to do so, assuming he has a positive 2014 World Cup performance, which could send his stock skyrocketing if the Italian national team does well in the competition.