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Aug 21, 2014

Mario Balotelli controversies

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli pleads his own innocence after scoring in the Manchester derby in October 2011.

Mario Balotelli has been no stranger to controversy throughout his career. From incidents with cars to clashes with managers and a succession of red cards, the mercurial striker has never been far from the headlines. 

CAR CRASH (August 2010): Just days after signing for Manchester City, Mario Balotelli hits the headlines after crashing his Audi R8 en route to the club's training ground. Balotelli is found to be carrying 5,000 pounds in cash at the time of the accident and when police ask why, he reportedly replies: "Because I am rich.''

WOMEN'S PRISON (October 2010): Balotelli, sidelined after knee surgery, is questioned by police after driving his Mercedes into the grounds of Brescia women's prison.

FIRST MAN CITY RED CARD (November 2010): Balotelli scores his first Premier League goals in a 2-0 win at West Brom but the achievement is marred when he sees red following a clash with Youssuf Mulumbu.

WILSHERE SNUB (December 2010): City boss Roberto Mancini says Balotelli must change his attitude following his claims he had never heard of Jack Wilshere after beating the Arsenal midfielder to FIFA's young player of the year award.

DART-THROWING INCIDENT (March 2011): Balotelli again hits trouble after it emerges he threw a dart at a City youth-team player. No one was hurt in the incident and he escapes punishment.

SECOND RED CARD (March 2011): Balotelli apologises to his teammates after he is sent off during a Europa League tie with Dynamo Kiev for a reckless challenge on Goran Popov.

BACK-HEEL BLUNDER (July 2011): Balotelli is immediately substituted by an enraged Mancini after performing a pirouette and back-heeling wide when clean through on goal in a preseason friendly against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

FIREWORK INCIDENT (October 2011): The Italian has another run-in with the emergency services after a firework is set off in the bathroom of his home, triggering a fire. The next day, he scores in the Manchester derby and celebrates by revealing a T-shirt that reads: "Why always me?''

THIRD RED CARD (November 2011): The third red card of Balotelli's City career arrives in a league match against Liverpool, the 21-year-old dismissed for two yellow cards.

BREAKING CURFEW (December 2011): Balotelli breaks a club 48-hour curfew by visiting a curry house ahead of a match against Chelsea.

RICHARDS CLASH (December 2011): Just days after Balotelli's curfew lapse, he again attracts negative headlines after pictures emerge of a training-ground bust-up with teammate Micah Richards.

PARKER CLASH (January 2012): Balotelli was charged with violent conduct by the FA, and subsequently handed a four-match ban, after appearing to stamp on the head of Tottenham's Scott Parker during a Premier League match.

INTER NEWS CONFERENCE (March 2012): Balotelli gatecrashes the news conference to announce the arrival of Andrea Stramaccioni as Inter's new coach.

FOURTH RED CARD (April 2012): Balotelli sees red for two bookable challenges on Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna. Also guilty of a shocking first-half knee-high challenge on Gunners midfielder Alex Song.

FIGHT WITH MANCINI (January 2013): Balotelli clashes with the Manchester City manager in training after refusing to leave the pitch following a lunge on Scott Sinclair. He is sold to AC Milan weeks later.

SMOKING AND ARGUING (April 2013): After being caught smoking a cigarette on a train carrying Milan's squad to a game versus Fiorentina, Balotelli is hit with a three-game suspension for arguing with match officials following a 2-2 draw. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says the striker must "learn to shut up."

SENT OFF FOR ITALY (June 2013): Two yellow cards in three minutes see Balotelli sent off in a World Cup qualifier versus the Czech Republic.

MISSED PENALTY AND ANOTHER RED (September 2013): After missing the first penalty of his career, Balotelli is sent off at the end of Milan's defeat versus Napoli for arguing with the referee.

CRYING ON THE BENCH (February 2014): With his side trailing at Napoli, Balotelli responds to his 73rd-minute substitution by appearing to break down in tears on the bench.

CLASHES WITH TV PUNDITS (April 2014): After he was substituted during a defeat versus Roma, Balotelli told critical analysts "you don't understand anything about football. Trust me, you really don't."

POSES WITH GUN (July 2014): Balotelli posts (and subsequently deletes) a picture on social media showing him pointing a gun at the camera with the accompanying message "a big kiss to all the haters."

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