Skip to main content

Balotelli: Happy to have left England

updated 12:46 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mario Balotelli says he's happy to have left England
  • Italy international insists he's just a "normal guy" despite wild stories
  • Confesses to his love of women and fast cars
  • Admits some people have a negative view of him

(CNN) -- Mario Balotelli has delivered his verdict on his time in the English Premier League -- he couldn't be happier to have left England.

The Italian international, who quit Manchester City for AC Milan last January, endured a tumultuous two-year spell in England with his life being played out on television screens and splashed across the pages of the tabloid newspapers.

Car crashes, throwing a dart at a youth team player, fireworks being set off in his bathroom and a training ground bust-up with the manager were all par for the course for football's "enfant terrible" during his time at City.

Read: Bye Bye Balotelli

The 22-year-old, who describes himself as just a "normal guy," insists his treatment at the hands of the British press crossed a line.

Balotelli: 'I will leave the pitch'
Balotelli: I've had enough of racist abuse
Mourinho on the enigma of Balotelli

"Yes," Balotelli told CNN when asked if he was unfairly treated in England.

"But I'm not here to talk about if I'm unfairly treated. I don't care. I'm out from England, I'm happy that I'm out from England. That's it.

"I'm really happy now. I have my family near me and my friends. I can relax and find my privacy, more than in England, where I was alone."

Read: Mancini sacking no surprise

Despite the off-field misdemeanors, former manager Roberto Mancini constantly defended the player even though Balotelli's behavior tested a relationship which stretched back to when the Italian-born forward was a raw and talented 16-year-old at Inter Milan.

However, the deterioration in the pair's relationship led to the striker being sold by City for $30 million to Milan. Mancini was relieved of his duties only last week following a season in which City failed to win a trophy.

Back in Italy, Balotelli still attracts headlines, although he insists not all of the extraordinary incidents he has been linked with are factually correct.

Twitter became a minefield of rumor and speculation with tales of Balotelli driving around Manchester, throwing money at homeless people -- just one of the untrue stories to have been concocted.

Read: Balotelli threatens to walk off

"The stuff that they said in the newspapers that I did in England in the past, few of those are real," he said.

David Beckham calls it a career
Beckham brand will outlast soccer career
David Beckham calls it a career
Alex Ferguson's recipe for success

"The others are really just the imagination of the journalists. But when you create an icon of a person in that kind of way, after everyone thinks you are like this and if you lie about it, everyone just thinks that it is all true.

"So maybe that's why they think I'm crazy and do crazy things? Sometimes I dream to be alone and that nobody would talk to me.

"A love of women I think is normal. Cars? I like fast cars and I don't see the problem if I like fast cars.

"Some things have happened in my life, some stuff unfortunately happened and they went on the newspapers straight away. But I don't see anything that would make people think that I'm bad or I'm crazy. I'm a normal guy.

"But I understand that football is really important and that everybody watches it. When you're famous you have to do photos or autographs, especially for the kids."

Read: Match stopped due to racist abuse of Balotelli

Back in Italy with his friends and family, Balotelli feels more comfortable and able to live freely in a way he found difficult to do so in England.

But he admits that his past transgressions count against him and that general public has preconceived notions about his personality.

"Of course, even if you're the best in the world then some people don't like you and some people like you," added Balotelli.

"What is important for me is that the people who know me for real, know Mario how he really is.

"People who don't know me, they read newspapers and they watch TV. Television is made to give a lot of opinions, so I can't show the real Mario to everybody."

Since joining Milan, Balotelli has scored 11 goals in 12 games.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT