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Mario Balotelli battled racism and adversity as a kid

London, Tue, 10 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 10 (ANI): Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has revealed that at the age of five, he was the only black child at his first club, and the racist parents of other players plotted to have him removed from the team.

The footballer was given a red card in the match against Arsenal on Sunday, which added to his list of foul plays on and off the field.

He has been in news for car crashes, indoor fireworks, dangerous dart throwing, red cards and clashes with team-mates, and the club's manager, Roberto Mancini claimed if they'd been team-mates he may have hit him.

"When he came here aged five, he was the only black child out of 250. The parents of the others looked at him differently," Ex-club president Mauro Tomolini said to the Daily Mirror in an interview.

Mario said that he was already used to battling adversity after surviving a series of operations on his intestines as a baby.

According to the report, Mario had lived in a cramped flat near Brescia with his Ghanaian birth parents, Thomas and Rose Barwuah, before he was fostered by Francesco and Silvio Balotelli, an Italian couple.

As he grew up he battled with fellow players and authority. "We used to fight in the dressing room. I threw him against a radiator once because he had hidden my clothes and I was stood there in my underpants like an idiot," says his team mate, Marco Pedretti, who revealed that Mario never had too many friends.

Andy Barton of The Sporting Mind clinic points out that the Man City star had a tough upbringing in Italy and is trying to detach from a lot of the problems he faces by being rebellious. He stressed that clubs shouldn't give up on him yet.

"He is still young and our brains are not yet fully developed in our early 20s. Wayne Rooney is proof that players do mature," he said. (ANI)

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