Preamble: Welcome to what I immediately acknowledge will be Mario Balotelli-obsessed coverage of tonight’s Euro 2012 soccer final between Italy and Spain in Kiev.
Now that we have discovered, most improbably, that the bizarrely hair-styled, intermittently ill-tempered, but undeniably talented 21-year-old was raised from age three by a nice Jewish family in the village of Concesio, in Brescia east of Milan, we’re watching his every move.
Latest revelations about Balotelli’s family include reports that he has relatives in Israel, and a Balotelli sister who studied at the prestigious InterDisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Latest revelations about Balotelli the footballer include the news that he is set to start tonight’s game.
That might sound obvious, given that it was his two goals that sent Italy past Germany into the final. But he was substituted in that game, having taken a knock, and his coach Cesare Prandelli has not always placed complete faith in the player — dropping him from the last group match against Ireland, before he came off the bench to score.
He celebrated his two goals against Germany by embracing his foster mom Silvia after the game. She and husband Francesco are expected to be in the stadium tonight.