A colourful character in the game, Mario Balotelli has been Italy’s first choice striker during qualification for the 2014 World Cup and carries the shortest player betting odds in the squad for player of the tournament and overall top scorer markets.
Balotelli was signed by Inter Milan in 2006 on loan having undergone an ultimately unsuccessful trial with Barcelona at the age of 15, scoring his first two goals for the club during Sheffield F.C.'s 150th anniversary friendly match. He then made headlines in his country with two goals against Juventus during the second leg of a Coppa Italia quarter-final, netting his first Serie A goal in 2008.
Between 2007 and 2010, Balotelli participated in three Serie A competitions with the Inter squad that proceeded to claim the league title on all three occasions Balotelli was present, scoring 20 goals in his 59 league appearances.
Moving to Manchester City and into the Premier League on 12 August 2010 for €21.8 million, Balotelli scored 10 goals in 28 appearances at the blue side of Manchester before being a significant part of City's Premier League title winning season of 2010-11.
He scored a total of 13 goals in 23 league appearances – one with his shoulder against Norwich famously – including setting up Sergio Aguero's injury time winner that won the side their first Premier League title. The following season saw Balotelli limited to just 14 league starts and one goal after numerous controversial implications surrounding himself and the team, who collected the FA Community Shield in 2012.
Balotelli then moved on to AC Milan in 2013 where he currently still plays, having already reached 20 goals for the club within 30 appearances in the Serie A league. Making his World Cup debut in 2014, the Italian has scored 12 International goals prior to 2014 from 29 appearances since 2010, and will be entering the summer event in fine form having scored five goals in his five World Cup qualifying appearances.
Mario Balotelli World Betting Tips
Balotelli is an obvious choice to consider for first, last or anytime goalscorer during Italy’s 2014 World Cup campaign. Balotelli however is also such an enigmatic character, capable of outlandish behaviour that could provide punters with extra winnings on occasions for picking up a yellow – or even red – card during some of Italy’s 2014 World Cup fixtures.
The enigmatic forward scored the decisive goal in Italy's 2-1 win against England in their opening game and showed brilliant vision enough times for bookmakers to re-assess his standing in the World Cup Top Goalscorer market. Balotelli squandered his only chance in the 1-0 defeat against Costa Rica to leave Italy's World Cup fate in the balance.