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In Brazil, soccer fans have been looking forward to the arrival of former 'golden boy' Mario Balotelli for weeks. The technical director of Vasco da Gama even knew for sure: "Mario Balotelli at Vasco da Gama is not a dream, but pure reality".
Not so. 30-year-old Balotelli continues his career not in South America, but close to home. The Italian second-class car AC Monza, the brainchild of Silvio Berlusconi and in the past co-owned by Clarence Seedorf, has secured his services.
On Monday Balotelli had his photograph taken with Monza chairman Adriano Galliani, Berlusconi's right hand at AC Milan from 1986 to 2017.
Balotelli played 63 duels for AC Milan between 2013 and 2016. In addition, he has also played for internazionale, Manchester City, Liverpool, OGC Nice and Marseille.
At his last club, Brescia, Balotelli had to deal with various forms of racism and he was constantly upset with the club management.
In spite of this, he reported to the gate of the training complex in May to prepare for the resumption of the season, but was not admitted.
Most people know Balotelli mainly because of his strange strapats inside and outside the field. But he has a palmares to say the least, including the Champions League (2010, Internazionale), three Italian national titles (2008-2010, Internazionale) and the double in England (2011 and 2012, Manchester City).
Balotelli played 36 international games for Italy, in which he scored 14 times. The most important of these were undoubtedly the two goals in the semifinals of the European Championship in 2012 against Germany.
At Monza he will again be teammate of Kevin-Prince Boateng, with whom he also played at AC Milan.