Saturday March 31 2018
Balotelli: 'I've given up on love'

Mario Balotelli described how he has matured and learned to accept his complicated extended family. “I’ve given up on love now.”

The forward is now 27 years old and entering a new stage of his life, both on and off the field.

“It’s true, I have matured and it shows. It’s only natural, as I’m getting older and I have two children. I have more responsibility and live a more relaxed lifestyle. I’m happy at home and with my kids,” the Nice striker told La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Sportweek magazine.

“I see Pia (his daughter by former partner Raffaella Fico) at least once a month for four or five days, as she comes to stay with me. Lion (his son) was in my home until December. I never had a stable relationship with his mother Clelia and we weren’t planning to have a child, but he arrived and I took my responsibility, because children must never pay the price for what adults do.

“Lion is fantastic. I told her: stay at my home, I want to raise him along with you, even if it wasn’t an act of love to create this baby and we weren’t planning on a family, we are trying to go forward on a united front.

“We managed for a while, now the child is in Switzerland with his mother. He is only seven months old and it’s right like that, but I do visit him often.

“I would love for Lion to grow up and become a football player! I can’t wait for him to grow up so he can watch me play. It’ll be the final years of my career by then, but at least he’ll be happy. At that point he’ll definitely want to play football.

“With Raffaella we did try to have a child and didn’t manage it, then she got pregnant and by the time I found out, we had already broken up. It was unexpected, so at the start I reacted in an odd way… (ndr, Balotelli demanded a paternity test before seeing the baby or recognising it was his).

“Now things are going well, we speak regularly. Obviously, Pia keeps trying to push her parents to get together, but I tell her that Mummy and Daddy care for her and have a good rapport between them, but love is another thing and one day she’ll understand that.

“I’ve given up on love now. It’s difficult to find real love. I might give off the vibe of someone who just wants to have fun, and in part that’s true because I am still young, but in a woman I’m looking for respect, class, certain values: it’s not easy… I am looking for a woman who allows me to walk around with my head held high at having her by my side.

“Considering my profession, it’s tough to meet someone like that. This is why I said enough. My mother is fine, my biological parents Thomas and Rose are healthy, so that’s all that matters to me. The rest will happen by itself, if it happens.”

Balotelli had many health problems when he was born and since the age of two has been adopted by the Balotelli family in Brescia, but revealed he is finally creating a bond with his blood family too.

“When I say that I have matured, I also mean accepting my biological parents as parents. I made so many steps forward that people don’t know about, but they made me stronger and more mature. I’ve had a good rapport with my biological parents for the last three to four years now. They’ve visited me and spent time with Pia… I learned to love them.

“The past is the past, Silva is my Mother and nothing will change that, but now there is also Rose, who gave birth to me, and Thomas too. I realised they are important to me, just as I am important to them.

“I think the kind of person I really am will only emerge after I have stopped playing. They can forget Mario the player, that doesn’t interest me. Football is my life because I have such joy in playing the game, but the day I don’t have fun anymore, that’s when all is left is me.”

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