The footballing world was in shock last week after it was announced that Balotelli was leaving A.C. Milan and heading to England's Liverpool in a €20 million transfer deal.
The star striker has gained international fame for his football skills, but has also become popular for his off-the-pitch antics.
In recent months he has lived up to his “bad boy” reputation by being caught smoking on a train and posing with a shotgun, but he has also delighted fans with a series of cheeky stunts.
Here are the top five best Balotelli moments:
Not one to miss a trend, Balotelli last week joined a series of international celebrities in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” charity fundraiser.
In a video posted online, the topless footballer throws a bucket of icy water over himself before jumping around screaming. Just days later Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also completed the challenge.
With Italy and England competing for World Cup glory in the same group, along with Costa Rica and Uruguay, Balotelli offered the British Queen a deal. If Italy helped keep England in the tournament by beating Costa Rica, he said he would like a kiss from Her Majesty.
Thankfully the British royal had no need to respond, as both teams were booted out at the group stage.
As if competing against the world’s greatest footballers wasn’t keeping Balotelli busy enough, he chose the 2014 World Cup as the perfect time to propose to his girlfriend Fanny Neguesha. He popped the question on a Brazilian beach and got an instant “yes”.
Last summer, Balotelli joined the Italy squad in meeting Pope Francis, ahead of a friendly match against the pontiff’s home side Argentina.
Not shy in the face of powerful pensioners (see (2) above), the striker said he would tell the Pope “what I think”. He also hoped for birthday wishes from the pontiff.
Aside from being a world class football player, Balotelli last year revealed another hidden talent. In a video posted online, he can be seen playing the national anthem on a grand piano.
Doubts were however raised over his musical talent, as Balotelli’s face and the pianist’s hands are not shown in the same shot.
For all the headlines he has grabbed in Italy, Balotelli’s departure was greeted with enthusiasm by many Italians. A poll by Gazzetta dello Sport found that 83 percent of readers were happy to see him go.
But their loss is England’s gain, judging by the throngs of delighted Liverpool fans ready to welcome him to the city.
A crowd of supporters shouting “We love you Mario, we do!” gathered outside the club’s training ground over the weekend, awarded with a brief appearance by Balotelli with one fan reaching out to stroke the footballer’s famous mohawk.
Some supporters have also come up with a chant for Balotelli, recounting his footballing skills and praising him for setting fireworks off in his bathroom. You can sing along here: