The Rundown

Top 10 Mario Balotelli madcap Manchester moments

To compile a rundown of the top 10 Mario Balotelli moments during his stay in England is not difficult. There are many, many examples of hilarious buffoonery and near-tragic stupidity to recount, but to pick just 10? It is actually very difficult indeed.

The reaction to the volatile Italian's departure from Manchester City to AC Milan has inevitably split opinion - even on these pages, Early Doors has bemoaned the exit of "the gift that keeps on giving", while Jim White believes the sigh of relief from Manchester City will have been palpable.

From driving around in a camouflage Bentley, throwing money out of the windows of his car, to having training ground bust-ups with his manager, and setting fireworks off from out of his window... yes, there are many, many moments to mention.

Below are the top 10 as selected by this writer, but add your own favourite Balotelli-isms at the bottom of the page. There should be at least 159 on this article by the end of the week.

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'Balotelli throws darts from window'

City were forced to again discuss Balotelli's disciplinary issues after the striker was reportedly caught throwing darts from a first floor window. It was understood that he lobbed the missiles in the direction of youth team players “because he was bored”.

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'Balotelli's car impounded for the 27th time'

Newspaper reports claimed that Balotelli had his luxury Maserati car impounded for an astonishing 27th occasion, in April 2011. It was revealed that the Italian had received an average of three parking tickets A DAY, which saw him notch up "nearly £10,000" in parking fines.

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Balotelli saves boy from bullying

Balotelli became an unlikely hero in May 2011 after he rescued a bullied schoolboy from his tormentor. The striker was asked for an autograph by the young fan at the training ground and, after discovering that he was playing truant from school because of bullying, he drove the boy and his mother to the school and mediated between the headmaster and the bully. "Mario feels strongly about bullying and thinks it's out of order. He had no qualms about sorting the mess out," a source said at the time.

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'Balotelli sets fire to house with fireworks'

The forward managed to set fire to his own house by letting off fireworks out of his bathroom window in the early hours of one Saturday morning in October 2011. Along with friends, Balotelli caused "a substantial fire", according to reports, with one of the fireworks flying into a towel. He did, at least, have the presence of mind to charge back inside amid the fire to rescue a 'vast quantity of money and a suitcase'.

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'Balotelli buys entire pub a drink before huge midnight mass donation'

Balotelli celebrated Christmas in 2011 by reportedly putting £1,000 behind the bar at The Tudor Pub in Peel Hall and chatting to the locals, before taking his girlfriend Raffaella Fico to St John's church in Chorlton, where he stunned onlookers with an enormous donation on the collection plate as he left the service.

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'Balotelli dresses as Father Christmas and hands out cash'

The Italian reportedly toured Manchester just before Christmas in 2011 handing out cash and gifts to strangers from his car, all while dressed as a blue Father Christmas. The gifts were understood to include sandwich makers and wads of cash, with Balotelli also handing a homeless man £1,000 in notes.

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'Balotelli in epic training ground bust-up'

In January of this year, Balotelli had a furious training ground bust-up with City boss Roberto Mancini, with the forward photographed grappling with his fellow Italian. Balotelli was understood to have taken exception to his manager intervening after he made a bad challenge in a training match, before he was eventually dragged away by members of the City coaching staff.

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'Luggage thrown during Balotelli row with Mancini'

Mancini and Balotelli have had their fair share of bust-ups during their tempestuous relationship at the club, and the City boss was reported to have hurled suitcases at Balotelli following one of many red cards he received for the club, this time in a Europa League match. Balotelli saw red in a clash with Dynamo Kiev for a reckless challenge, and had a fight with the boss after the match.

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'Balotelli hauled off in disgrace for arrogant backheel'

Balotelli's controversial moments were not only confined to off-field events, with the striker taken off in disgrace by his manager after he "disrespected" the fans and opposition with a needless backheel miss against LA Galaxy. Balotelli was put through on goal with an easy finish presented to him, but he inexplicably attempted a spinning backheel as he proceeded to miss the target. He was immediately substituted with Balotelli attempting to protest his innocence before storming down the tunnel in a rage.

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'Why always me?' - the now legendary celebration

It is now one of the most famous celebrations ever as Balotelli pulled up his shirt to reveal the message 'Why always me?' after scoring against Manchester United as City secured an historic 6-1 thrashing over their rivals. As an iconic moment, it will always be associated to Balotelli's time in England, and came after a spate of controversial stories about his off-field antics.

What are your favourite Balotelli moments? Post your thoughts below...