Sports Nicknames - Super Mario



Mario Balotelli is a name that will be familiar to anyone who paid attention to European football for the past decade. Whether it's from his notable goal celebrations, off-field antics or performances for the Italian national team, "Super Mario" has shown himself to be a character in the spotlight.

Balotelli earned the nickname "Super Mario" in reference to the character from the Nintendo series of games. He was adopted by Silvia and Francesco Balotelli at age 3, and would stay with his biological parents (Ghanian immigrants) on the weekends before eventually moving in full-time with the Balotellis.

His first venture into football was with Lumezzane, before moving to Inter Milan in 2006. There, he was fairly successful in goal-scoring, but faced racist chants from Juventus fans and clashed with Jose Mourinho when he took over coaching.

After a turbulent end to his time at Inter, Balotelli made the move to Manchester City in 2010. Once again, he would be fairly successful in terms of goal-scoring. However, his biggest moment came in the 2011-2012 season when he assisted the goal to Sergio Aguero, who scored the goal to win the league in the 94th minute.

Since then, Balotelli's career has gone somewhat downhill. He made successful appearances for the Italian national team at the Euro 2012 tournament, but has only made one appearance for the team since 2014. He has bounced around clubs, including Milan, Liverpool, Marseille and is now at Brescia.

Super Mario's career has not panned out like many people thought it would at the beginning when he was a bright spark at Inter. He has, however, become a major force in calling out racism in football, having been a victim of it many times. Where he will go once his career is done is still a question mark, but it seems unlikely he'll stay away from the spotlight.