Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Breakthrough Jew – Mario Balotelli

Balotelli joined AC Milan last year, signing a €20 million plus contract until 2017.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: June 26th, 2014 in Sports » World

Breakthrough Jew - Mario Balotelli

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Mario Balotelli

Age: 23

Hometown: Palermo, Italy

Breakthrough Cred: Born with a gift of football (soccer)

Some individuals know from a very tender age, what it is they want to do. Others folks are born with an inherent gift. Footballer Mario Balotelli encapsulates both. Balotelli began playing football (or soccer to North Americans) at the age of five. Already displaying exceptional technical skills for someone so young, he was immediately placed in an older age group. In 2001, he began playing for A.C. Lumezzane. Five years later, Balotelli made his team debut in a Serie C league match on April 2, 2006 at the age of 15. In August 2006, he began playing for F.C. Internazionale Milano’s Allievi Nazionali (under 16) team. What for his exceptional prowess on the pitch, Balotelli was quickly promoted to the Primavera (under 20) category.

“No, it’s not that she didn’t believe me, she didn’t want to. Like, she always looking me for, for do other sports. Sometimes I miss those times, when I used to do a lot of sports, and no pressure, no nothing. Just me, and my family, and my friends, and I could do whatever I want, also because I was young,” Balotelli explained of his mother in an English-language interview with Time Magazine in 2012.


On December 17, 2007, Balotelli made his debut on Internazionale’s (or Inter, as it’s simply known) Serie A team. Two days later, he was in the starting line-up, and scored two goals in the Italian Cup match betwixt Reggina and Inter, taking Inter to a 4-1 win. A month later, Balotelli gained national attention, after scoring two incredible goals against Juventus in the Italian Cup. The aforementioned four goals made him (together with two other players) the top scorer in the 2007-2008 Italian Cup, and thus made him a star. Balotelli’s first Serie A goal of the regular season came in April 2008, in a 2-0 victory over Atalana. Inter would go on to win the 2007-2008 Serie A. In September 2008, Balotelli made his debut on the Italian national Under 21 team, scoring his first goal in an international game against Greece.

In August 2010, Balotelli made his debut on the Italian national team. Shortly thereafter, he signed a €21.8 million contract with Manchester City in the Premier League. In May 2012, Balotelli and Manchester City won the Premier League championships for the first time in over four decades.

In January 2013, Balotelli joined AC Milan, signing a €20 million plus contract until 2017. On June 1, 2014, he was named as part of Italy’s national team for 2014 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, Italy lost to Uruguay 1-0, on Tuesday, June 24th, dashing their chances for a World Cup victory.

Follow Balotelli on Twitter @FinallyMario


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