Get to Know Italy's Mario Balotelli

PHOTO: AC Milans forward Mario Balotelli on April 25, 2014 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
AC Milan's forward Mario Balotelli on April 25, 2014 at the Olympic stadium in Rome.

Mario Balotelli is known as a superb striker for AC Milan, but his yellow-card friendly temper precedes his reputation at the 2014 World Cup as well.

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Balotelli, 23, scored 18 goals in 40 appearances during the 2013-14 season, including games played for his club team, A.C. Milan, as well as Italy. However, he may have the shortest temper of any player in the world, according to Robert Tuchman, president of sports and entertainment marketing firm Goviva, as he received a staggering 14 yellow cards and one red card over this span of games.

"Italy just has to hope Brazil and the nightlife don’t affect his game," Tuchman said.

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Balotelli was at his best in the 2012 European Cup, Tuchman said, helping Italy reach the final before losing to Spain.

"He has shown that he can play well in big games, but will he lose his temper and be a detriment to Italy’s chances of winning their second world cup in the last three tournaments? Italy will need Balotelli at peak performance if they wish to even get past the group stage, as they are joined by Uruguay, England and Costa Rica," Tuchman said.

The former Manchester City player has, however, kept a cool head when confronted with racial taunts from fans. Balotelli was born in Palermo, Italy, to his parents who immigrated from Ghana. After hearing racist comments from stands while preparing for the World Cup, he reportedly told teammates, “This only happens in Rome and Florence," The Guardian reported.

Balotelli wrote on his Twitter page, @FinallyMario: Don't believe anything you read about me unless is coming from here.

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