Reason behind Mario Balotelli’s bizarre shirt number revealed as ex-Man City and Liverpool hothead turns to math
MARIO BALOTELLI’s career has been a colorful mix of ups and downs.
But at least the explanation of 15 years of wearing the No45 shirt adds up.
The former Liverpool and Manchester City striker, 32, has insisted on the same number since joining his first big club Inter Milan in 2007.
The Sion star has now been shortlisted for last year’s Fifa Puskas Award for Best Goal, with the winner due to be announced on February 27.
That’s thanks to his dazzling dribbling and Rabona’s finishing for his former club, Turkey’s Adana Demirspor, last May.
It’s another peak in one of football’s most fluctuating histories.
And while there are a number of reasons why Balotelli’s fortunes have fluctuated, there’s only one reason why his numbers have persisted.
The Italian with 36 caps once explained: “When I first played three or four games with Inter Milan, when I was young, I had number 45 because the numbers for the young players ranged from No. 36 to No. 50.
“I took number 45 because I was joking that four plus five is nine – and I scored in all four games.
“It brings me luck and that’s why I always kept No45.”
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But if Balotelli’s antics hadn’t divided opinion so much, his achievements would surely have multiplied.
Man City once disciplined him for throwing darts out a window, he had a sports car impounded on several occasions and he accidentally set his house on fire with fireworks.
He is also said to have visited Manchester dressed as Santa Claus to distribute gifts and money to strangers, as well as putting £1,000 behind a pub bar to help locals celebrate.
And his meltdowns include a furious row on the training ground with then City boss Roberto Mancini in 2016.
So despite his love of math, he’s a player that managers and teammates have failed to master.