According to a local Italian artist, the volatile soccer player Mario Balotelli has commissioned a life-sized statue of himself to “immortalise” himself in his home in Brescia, Italy.
“I have received the commission, but I’ve never met Balotelli so I am working from photos,” Livio Scarpella told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale di Brescia. “I presented several drawings but Mario wanted to be immortalised in a pose that shows him having scored a goal, highlighting his muscles and with an expression of defiance.”
Understandably, the Italian media has jumped to the conclusion that the pose will be based on the 22-year-old’s iconic celebration after scoring his second goal in last summer’s European Championship semi-final against Germany. Balotelli’s performance was good enough to spring the surprise win though Italy was thumped 4-0 in the final by Spain. “I have imagined him as an athlete from ancient times and the statue will be a mix of classical and pop style in platinum and coloured bronze with the eyes made of stones,” said Scarpella. Well, quite.
It’s just the latest incident in a tumultuous few months for Balotelli. He started the season with Manchester City, who is currently defending their English Premier League title, which was secured in dramatic fashion on the last day of the 2011/12 campaign when Balotelli’s assist set up the winning goal in injury time to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2, thus denying their local rivals Manchester United the championship for a 20th time. But Balotelli never seemed to settle this season, and was sold to AC Milan in January.
(VIDEO: Mario Balotelli Opens Up to TIME)
Life has been anything but dull since moving back to Italy. He scored twice on his debut and added another two goals over his next two games. But he drew a blank in last weekend’s derby against Inter, who were fined €50,000 ($65,000) by the Italian league in light of fans racially abusing Balotelli, who used to play for Inter (the fine was also for racism towards another former player, Sulley Muntari, as well as offensive banners and the usage of a laser aimed at players’ eyes). Balotelli raised a finger to his lips when Inter fans were abusing him.