• Serie A

Balotelli: I'm a good lad and as normal as anybody

ESPN staff
November 21, 2013
Mario Balotelli's form has suffered a dip in recent months © AP

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli says he will never be normal, simply because society will not allow it.

The Italy international is firmly in the focus of the public's glare, which is why he claims what may seem normal behaviour to him gets transformed into something far from it by the media, but he says always being at the centre of attention is not going to change him.

"I'm a good lad," he said at a charity evening celebrating the tenth anniversary of his club's Milan Fondazione on Wednesday night. "I'm as normal as anybody, just I'm in a situation where being normal is not permitted.

"You've got to be a man, you've got to be big and you are not allowed to get distracted in my surroundings. People are watching me, but I'm not bothered by it. I have a good character so I'm relaxed. I'm no longer like I was when I was younger."

It had been muted recently that being in the spotlight was starting to weigh Balotelli down. A clash with a photographer in Naples, controversial tweets and bans in Serie A had led to his agent Mino Raiola suggesting he may be forced out of Italy.

His form has suffered too with his last league goal coming in the 2-1 defeat to Napoli in September, a game in which he also missed the first penalty of his career. However, the 23-year-old does not agree that he is not playing very well lately, even if he was recently left on the bench by Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"I've not scored for four or five games, but it's not true that I've been doing badly," he said. "In fact, I played better in these games than in those I scored in."

A week with the national team could have been just the tonic. "It's a serene atmosphere there and you can go with a drooped head and come back with a smile on your face." Which, given Balotelli's appearance in Milan on Wednesday night, appears to be the case.

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