He's a striker. He's good at darts. He's the subject of an excellent B/R personality quiz that you all should take when you're done reading this.
And in 2011, no player gave the masses greater joy, made more headlines for his shenanigans and created more memetic moments than Manchester City's highly gifted and highly enigmatic young striker, Mr. Super Mario Balotelli.
To round out this list, in no particular order, we give you his seven most entertaining moments of 2011 (and knowing Balotelli, there's probably still an omission or two):
8. Super Mario the Super Hero
In what was either a brilliant moment of human empathy or a well-engineered PR stunt (depending on who you ask, but we're going to go ahead and guess how most folks see it), Balotelli played after-school special hero to a truant Manchester City supporter.
When the lad showed up at City's training ground and asked Balotelli for an autograph, he asked the kid why he was ditching school. Turns out, he was being bullied. So Balotelli drives the young fan and his mum to the school and gives his bully a good talking-to. Hopefully, Balotelli's actions have turned the truant lad into a fine, upstanding citizen.
7. Super Mario Pays It Forward
Like Balotelli's other Random (or PR-engineered) Act of Goodwill, this makes our list not because generosity is hilarious or outrageous (rather, it's a trait more people should possess), but because it is part of a ball of events that has defined the cult of personality that is Balotelli in 2011.
Just a year after being questioned by police upon driving around with £5,000 in cash in his pocket and responding, "Because I am rich," Balotelli opted to share the wealth, giving £1,000 of his £25,000 gambling haul to a homeless man.
6. A Few More Items and He'd Have His Own 12 Days of Christmas
Sometimes, when you're shopping, it's easy to get sidetracked. You go to the supermarket for milk and bread and walk out with tequila.
But during a certain shopping trip to John Lewis, Balotelli must have gotten really sidetracked: instead of picking up an ironing board and other housekeeping items requested by his mum, Balotelli and his friends returned with a giant trampoline, two Vespa scooters, a Scalextric slot car racing set and a partridge in a pear tree.
5. Like You've Never Taunted One of Wayne Rooney's Bedfellows at a Restaurant
Back in March, Balotelli came under fire in the British tabloids after taunting Jenny Thompson, the prostitute who reportedly counted Wayne Rooney among her clientele, at a posh restaurant in Manchester city centre.
According to witnesses, Balotelli chanted "Rooney! Rooney!" at her across the floor at San Carlo and then blew a raspberry at her companion for the evening. This can definitely be filed in the list of What Not to Do at a Posh Restaurant, right in between "tucking your napkin into your shirt" and "vomiting on the hostess."
4. He's a Striker, He's Good at Darts
Back in March, Balotelli found himself making the headlines for the wrong reasons yet again when he threw at least one dart at a youth team player at Manchester City's Carrington training ground. Luckily, nobody was hurt.
3. Fashion Victim
During a Europa League quarterfinal match between City and Dynamo Kyiv, Balotelli reached memetic heights once again as he struggled to put on his training bib—twice!—and had to enlist the help of team officials to help him get dressed.
2. Baby, You're a Firework
Accidentally starting a house fire isn't all that weird; in fact, it's just unfortunate.
But accidentally starting a very substantial house fire because you or your mates were trying to set off firecrackers through the bathroom window? Not quite as smart.
But it's all good: after that, the Treacle Partnership had no trouble finding a firework-safety spokesman for Bonfire Night.
1. Why Always Me?
The man, the goal, the shirt, the meme, the legend. After opening the scoring in the 6-1 shocker that was the Manchester derby, Mario Balotelli lifted his kit over his head to reveal a shirt that reads "Why Always Me?"
Knockoffs were sold en masse and the slogan has since become a buzz phrase by which his career has been defined.
Why always you, Balotelli? Because you're a legend, so in the words of Pink Floyd, shine on, you crazy, crazy diamond.