Mario Balotelli reveals his mother “cried” with happiness when he joined hometown club Brescia. “It was my Father’s dream to see me in this jersey.”
Although the striker was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, he moved to Brescia at the age of two and his adoptive family still lives there, although his Father died recently.
This is therefore a return to his hometown club, even though he started out in the youth academies of Lumezzane and then Inter, so never actually played for the Rondinelle.
“The President and I had already met in England many years ago. Mino Raiola proposed the idea and it really wasn’t difficult for me to choose Brescia,” said Balotelli in his Press conference.
“I have zero fear. My objectives are to help this team grow as much as possible, to support my teammates and have them support me. I think you have more fear of failure than I do.
“I don’t really watch television or read coverage about myself, so when there are negative stories about me, they are told to me by others, but I’m used to it by now. You can’t be loved by everyone.”
Balo turned down Flamengo and it’s reported one of the main reasons was so that he could be within easy reach for Italy Coach Roberto Mancini.
“I am absolutely targeting a place in the Italy squad for Euro 2020.
“I spoke to Mancini when he wished me a happy birthday (earlier this month). Brescia is my town, so it can give me much more than other places, just as I hope to give Brescia far more than I could anywhere else.”
Balotelli was asked if he feared racist abuse from supporters in the stadiums in Serie A.
“I hope with all my heart that we do not see a repeat of incidents that happened many, many years ago when I was last in Italy. I can’t start thinking about that, though.
“I probably spent more of my career abroad than in Italy. My Mum cried when I told her I had the possibility of coming to Brescia! I asked what she thought and she was just crying. She’s very happy.
“My Father was from Brescia, he supported the team and it was his dream to see me play with this jersey, so I think he’d be happy too.
“Naturally, as a Bresciano, the derby with Atalanta is special and it hasn’t been played in Serie A for many years, but every game is important.”
The 29-year-old was a free agent after his Olympique Marseille contract expired and this is his first Serie A experience since the Milan loan in 2016.
He has chosen his traditional Number 45 jersey, but the Press conference was delayed by the sheer number of fans who descended on the hotel.
Balotelli won’t be available for the first four Serie A games, as he still has to finish a ban handed down in Ligue 1 at Marseille.