Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Why I wish there were more footballers like Super Mario

Much as I dislike Manchester City, I cannot resist their star striker, the super-talented, highly eccentric and poetically philanthropic Mario Balotelli.

The 21-year-old Italian inspires fantastic headlines every week. He had tabloid pun merchants in seventh heaven when he had to be rescued from his burning house after setting off outdoor fireworks in his bathroom.

Reports at Christmas that he went round Manchester randomly handing out £20 notes - and that he came out of a casino and gave a homeless man £1,000 - pricked the interest of even the biggest football cynic. But my favourite Mario story came on Tuesday with the rumour that he walked into the University of Manchester library and offered to settle up all outstanding book fines.

If half of what they say about Balotelli - including his support for Mancunian book lovers - is true, he could introduce some soul into the mercenary Premiership single-handedly.

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