Manchester City's Mario Balotelli: Thank You!

James FallonContributor INovember 28, 2011

Balotelli is surrounded by police both on and off the pitch
Balotelli is surrounded by police both on and off the pitchAlex Livesey/Getty Images

My family has a longstanding tradition: We tell everyone what we are thankful for as we sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

This year, it’s easy. 

I’m thankful for the eccentric striker for Manchester City, Mario Balotelli, and the entertainment he has provided all of us.

The 20-year-old prodigy arrived from Italy’s Inter Milan.  After getting in a fight with legendary coach Jose Mourinho, appearing on TV wearing the jersey of crosstown rival AC Milan and throwing the sacred Inter jersey on the ground in disgust after a win against Barcelona, a group of fans planned to physically attack Balotelli. 

They chased him out of Italy and into the hearts of every Englishman.

Last year, Manchester City—owned by a sheik and with a “money is no object” mentality—decided to splash out £24 million to get the unproven, but entertaining, striker.

This summer, Balotelli started writing a script that Hollywood producers would never dare make because nobody would ever believe it. 

Upon arriving in England, he was questioned by police about why he was carrying £5,000 of cash, to which he responded: “Because I am rich.”

While on tour in America, Balotelli made headlines around the world with an attempted backheel against the LA Galaxy, missing an open goal because of his showboating.

This clowning around was sure to get the striker taken off by the manager, Roberto Mancini, but Balotelli had the audacity to act surprised, even appalled!

Balotelli, “bored” after practice, took it a step further when he decided to throw darts out the window at innocent youths…as a joke, of course.

The striker then decided it best to light his house on fire before the night of the big derby against Manchester United.  With a few friends, Super Mario shot off fireworks in his bathroom, prompting the entire fire department to arrive at his charred house.

The next day, the striker scored two goals against Manchester United and revealed an undershirt with the printed words: “Why always me?”

Why always you, Mario?  Maybe because you lit your house on fire last night!

You may start thinking Balotelli is a bad guy, but I assure you he’s not.  Balotelli even says so himself.

He told The Guardian, "My public image is absolutely not a fair reflection of who I am. Sometimes I do the wrong thing and there are things I regret, but I'm 20. People who know me are aware I'm not a bad guy, but I'm shy; it's difficult to be here giving an interview."

In his time away from chunking darts at youth team players, Balotelli assumes the roles of protecting the nation’s bullied childrenfighting English homelessness with £1,000 handouts and visiting women’s prisons in Italy.

He also leads a firework safety campaign on the side.

Yes, I’m extremely puzzled by this man, but the entertainment he provides me greatly outweighs my puzzlement, and for this, I’m thankful. 

Bravo, Mario!  And the script continues to be written…