World Football

Mario Balotelli Responds to Allegations That He Assaulted a Photographer

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli stands on the pitch during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Hellas Verona, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Luca Bruno/Associated Press
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

Mario Balotelli has responded to claims he assaulted a photographer outside a nightclub. 

The AC Milan forward, who is famed for his fiery temper and lack of discipline, spoke to ANSA about the alleged incident, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald:

"I categorically deny being involved in the altercation, I was standing apart," said Balotelli.

The report suggests Balotelli travelled to Liguria in order to watch his brother play football, a visit brought on by his recent injury and inability to play against Sampdoria.

He allegedly refused a photograph during dinner with girlfriend Fanny Neguesha and friends, but the same photographer is said to have followed the group to a nightclub.

As noted in the Herald's report, this is where the confrontation is supposed to have happened:

"According to witnesses, Italy international Balotelli kicked the photographer after refusing another request for a picture," reads the article. "The photographer called police and later accompanied them into the nightclub to identify the 23-year-old."

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Balotelli's career at Inter, Manchester City and now Milan has been blighted by continuous headlines surrounding both the player's on-field and off-field actions. He is famous for incidents including setting fireworks off in his own house, repeatedly crashing his car and even throwing darts at a youth player.

Aside from this, he is an extremely effective striker on his day. Balotelli is powerfully built, quick and can finish from anywhere on the pitch, as highlighted by his thunderous striker in the recent 1-0 win over Bologna.

He has scored 10 goals across 18 Serie A appearances in a season that has seen Milan struggle for form, recorded by WhoScored.com. Currently residing 10th in the Italian top flight, Clarence Seedorf needs his star striker to return from injury fully focused.

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 28:  Mario Balotelli (R) of Italy celebrates with team-mate Claudio Marchisio after scoring his team's second goal as Philipp Lahm of Germany shows his dejection during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Germany and Italy at
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Somewhat ironically, the 23-year-old recently spoke about bust-ups and his relationship with the press during an interview with FourFourTwo magazine, per Kris Voakes of Goal.com:

"Unfortunately, some people always want to make a big deal out of this sort of thing," said Balotelli before the claims of assault, highlighting how he is always in the public eye.

Balotelli will be hoping for the negativity to die down as he recovers from injury, especially considering he has a huge role to play across the remainder of the season for Milan.

He also needs to go into this summer's World Cup without constantly being frustrated, as he can make all the difference for Italy. We saw Balotelli's best during his Euro 2012 semifinal demolition of Germany, but with headlines like these, he is unlikely to repeat such a feat.

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