words by Silvia Donati Italy’s soccer superstar Mario Balotelli has made the cover of this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated. The prestigious magazine declares Balotelli “the most interesting man in the world.” Why? He is, as stated on the cover, “Italian,” but also “African”; “the face of AC Milan” and “the face of the New Europe”; “friend to Popes and prime ministers” and, at the same time, “a red card waiting to happen”; “the subject of racist hate and wild adulation”; “the best young striker in futbol”. In the course of the interview with the magazine, Balotelli, who was adopted by Italian parents when he was one year old after his Ghanaian birth parents placed him in foster care, says of the town where he grew up: "Brescia is my home. It's where I will live one day when I stop playing football. When I'm in Brescia, I'm relaxed." Balotelli also touches on the subject of racism, of which he has often been a victim: "You can't delete racism. It's like a cigarette. You can't stop smoking if you don't want to, and you can't stop racism if people don't want to. But I'll do everything I can to help." This is another important magazine cover for Mario, after the November 2012 cover by Time magazine, “The Meaning of Mario - What the phenomenon of Mario Balotelli says about football, race and European identity.” Time also included him in its 2013 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Italy’s soccer superstar Mario Balotelli honored on the cover of Sports Illustrated
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