Balotelli on Balotelli

He was the most exciting and controversial young star of Italian football, now he's at Man City and talking about Playstation, racism, dribbling, bench warming and Mourinho's rubbish car.
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On his personality

“I’m an instinctive person, in life as well. When someone tells me to do something, I tend to do the opposite. But without malice, I don’t do it deliberately.”

“Even if I don’t always behave how I should, this still doesn’t explain why so many people have it in for me. Do you know why so many people come to the stadium to insult me? I hope it isn’t racism. I tell myself that it isn’t racism, it’s because I’m a good player. I hope it’s true.”

“I’m a kid, I’m not a gentleman. Will I become one? Yes.”

On playing

“Football’s a release, but above all it’s a game.”

“My dream is always to score a last-minute goal in a big game. And not to play from the beginning, but to come on as a sub, score and win.”

“I took a ball with me everywhere when I was a kid. Even to Scouts. Once we went up in the mountains, there was no level ground, it was all slopes. I remember I used to practise on my own and every time I made a mistake the ball went rolling down the mountainside, so I had to run down and get it, then climb back up again.”

“Scoring a goal gives you a bellissima sensation, but the ultimate in football is dribbling. Though of course only goals actually count.”

“I play as a forward, what else is a striker supposed to do if not score? It seems normal to me. I feel a joy when I score a goal, but I tend to keep it inside. It just doesn’t seem right to make a big deal out of it.”

On racism

“I’m Italian. They get themselves so wound up about this business of a person’s skin, but they know I’m Italian.”

“I’m a really small part of this world. I can’t change it. I’m not saying that it’s always going to be like this, but I do believe things are getting better. Even if from the beginning to the end they do these things to me, I’m never going to stop. If they do it to another player and he wants to stop [the game], then he should stop the game or play it again behind closed doors. For me personally, racial abuse is just a type of intimidation.”

On family

“My family is so important, they tell me what’s right and wrong. A lot of people take advantage, but not them.”

“I’m really stubborn, but I know that what my family tell me, they tell me for my own good. At first, I don’t agree and I have a bit of a sulk. Then, finally, I understand that they were right all along.”

“I knew when I was six years old that I would play professional football. My mum didn’t believe me.”

“I say to parents: don’t pester a kid. I’ve seen so many parents push a young lad into playing football, because they want him to become who-knows-what. My parents didn’t want me to play football. They made me do athletics, swimming, basketball. I did it all. My mum didn’t want me to be a footballer because she knew how the world of football is. It’s not an ugly world, it absolutely isn’t, but it is a world full of dangers. I’m grateful to her, because the reason I’m so physical is all thanks to her. If it had been up to me I would’ve played football and only football.”

“My dream is always to score a last-minute goal in a big game. And not to play from the beginning, but to come on as a sub, score and win.”

On cars

“I’ve only got the one car, it’s a Mercedes. I have a real passion for speed. My mum said to me, ‘are you mad?’ when I told her I’d bought it.  My family wanted me to buy something less powerful. My mum’s worried now.”

“One thing I never told Mourinho? I don’t like his car…”

On Cristiano Ronaldo

“I asked him for his shirt and he told me he had to give it to someone else. So I told him, ‘I’m going to become better than you.’”

On Francesco Totti

“Real men don’t hide behind something else. Not like… shall I tell you what happened with Totti [during the 2010 Coppa Italia final]? I only said one thing to him: ‘Do you want to carry on playing or are you going to act like a baby?’ He replied by calling me a ‘shitty black’. Afterwards came the kick [Totti was sent off for kicking Balotelli]. I used to really admire Totti…”

On politics

“I’ve never voted. I will never vote.”

On religion

“I’m religious. But I don’t practise. I do pray, the evening before going to sleep, a couple of times in the morning when I wake up, but not always. I would never pray before a big game, it doesn’t make any sense. I only say thank you for what I’ve got.”

On his pet dog

“I really wanted a dog. But my parents said, ‘if you really want one, at least get one from one of the public kennels.’ I went and had a look, but there really wasn’t one that I liked. But then I saw a month-old Labrador and I had to have it. Now my mum tends to look after it, because what with training and playing, I really don’t have much time.”

On Playstation

“I’m too strong. I’m unbeatable. Whoever wants to play against me on Playstation has already lost. I’m too strong, but even then I’m also improving all the time. I’m a genius. Better than on the actual pitch? Oh yeah, absolutely.”

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