Mario Balotelli gave fans a reminder of his talent and capabilities when he scored five goals for Adana Demirspor on the final day of the Turkish Super Lig season on Sunday.
Nicknamed ‘Super Mario’, the Italian striker scored his first goal in the 33rd minute and his fifth in the 70th in a 7-0 drubbing of relegated side Goztepe.
The five-goal haul — which had a magical goal that included multiple stepovers before he found the net with a ‘rabona’– allowed the Italian striker to shoot up the league’s scoring charts.
He finished the season with 18 goals, two shy of top scorer Umut Bozok of Kasimpasa.
Once Italy’s main striker and the top scorer at Euro 2012, the 31-year-old Balotelli seemed to have lost his way when he played last season in the country’s second-tier Serie B with Monza before joining newly-promoted Demirspor last year.
Having last played for Italy in 2018, he was called up for a training camp earlier this year, reviving hopes he would play for the Azzurri again.
But national team coach Roberto Mancini, who coached him at Inter Milan and Manchester City, did not name him in the World Cup playoffs squad.
But national team coach Roberto Mancini, who coached him at Inter Milan and Manchester City, did not name him in the World Cup playoffs squad as Italy crashed out and failed to qualify.
Balotelli provided the league-winning assist in stoppage time for Sergio Aguero in 2012 when City beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and pipped rivals Manchester United to the Premier League title on goal difference.
On Sunday, as Balotelli scored five, history repeated itself at the Etihad Stadium as City came back to beat Aston Villa 3-2 to seal another league title.