Mario Balotelli is Italy’s star striker and one of their golden keys to a potential victory at the 2014 World Cup. After a stunning performance in Italy’s first match against England, everyones’ eyes are on Balotelli as they expect him to lead the team to another victory against Costa Rica.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Scored a Goal Against England Last Week
After a tense and tied game between Italy and England last week, the 23-year-old Balotelli moved unhindered into the box where he was able to plant a header straight into the goal. You can watch the video of that goal above.
The goal allowed Italy to claim a 2-1 victory of England.
2. He Was Raised by Foster Parents, the Balotellis
Mario Barwuah was born in Palmero, Italy, to immigrants from Ghana. At the age of 3, he came under the care of Silvia Balotelli, a Jewish Italian woman, after his biological father acquired life-threatening health issues. Balotelli was the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
3. Balotelli Requested a Kiss on the Cheek From Queen Elizabeth
If Italy defeats Costa Rica, the two-time loosing team England will have a more likely chance of moving on to the Round of 16. For this reason, Balotelli posted on his Twitter account on Thursday that if Italy wins, he requests a kiss, “obviously on the cheek” from Queen Elizabeth II of england.
If we beat Costa Rica i want a kiss,obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen.???.
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) June 19, 2014
There is no word yet on whether the Queen would ever agree to this deal.
4. He Plays for Milan
5. He Starts Against Costa Rica at Noon on June 20
Mario Balotelli will start of Italy during their second World Cup game on June 20, at noon Eastern time. Watch as they take on Costa Rica coming off of a massive win against fan-favorite Uruguay.