Le Monde / according to AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS
StoryTop 30 matches that marked the Euro. Until 2021, "Le Monde" has classified the 30 matches that made the legend of the tournament. In 13th position, the fantastic striker qualifies Italy with a double that celebrates his celebration.
From angry impassiveness to muscular celebration. In ten days, Mario Balotelli presented the public with a range of emotions that lived up to his reputation as a boisterous goalscorer. Until the semi-final of this Euro 2012, which would pit Italy against Germany, "Super Mario" had hardly shone.
As good as he was, his goal against Ireland (2-0) on June 18 in the third group match did not change his habits. Like the others, the attacker does not celebrate it. Not the kind of house. "I don't celebrate my goals because it's my job, have you ever seen a postman jump for joy when he comes to deliver the mail?" " he replied before the Euro on this subject with a certain sense of formula.
On the contrary, his teammate Leonardo Bonucci had to put his hand in front of the mouth of a Balotelli, dissatisfied with his replacement status, to prevent him from dying in sweet words from the press gallery and the whole Earth. So, what happened on June 28 in his head when it came to carrying out one of the most iconic celebrations in the history of football?
Innate sense of staging
In Warsaw we play 36e minute of play in a semifinal at the top. A triple European champion, the Mannschaft has never lost a Euro at this stage. But the Nazionale, meanwhile, never suffered a defeat against Germany in the final phase, their last victory dating back to a World Cup semi-final six years earlier in Dortmund (2-0).
Despite a good start from Joachim Löw's players, Italy are already leading 1-0 thanks to a first goal from Balotelli. A quarter of an hour later, on a long, deep ball, the center-forward caught the last defender in gear and sent an overpowered shot into the skylight. The match is almost folded and, even more than his magnificent double, the young 21-year-old footballer is about to become legend thanks to his innate sense of direction.
"Super Mario" takes off his jersey (whatever the yellow card provided for by the regulations for this type of exhibitionism), throws his best black eyes and contracts his muscles, arms rounded towards the ground like a bodybuilder. The "Incredible Hulk" has nothing to do well. This celebration goes around the world and social networks to become one of the first football memes.
The artist, often misunderstood, recounts his inspiration after the meeting. "This is my strongest emotion in the national team, my best match so far. On the first goal, I exulted because my teammates had asked me to do it. On the second goal, no need to explain, you just have to look. "
Finally a hero after a few disappointed promises, the terrible child of Italian football believes he is finally launched towards his destiny as a star. Forgotten the fireworks launched from his bathroom and which set fire to his Mancunian villa in October 2011. Forgotten the "Why always me" written on his t-shirt after a goal scored against Manchester United.
A goal for Mamma
Coach Cesare Prandelli, who has constantly defended him, against all odds, against the Italian protesters, is finally comforted. Yes, he was right to keep him on the team "When all the tifosi and the media wanted him on the bench".
Euphoric, the boy from Palermo, born to Ghanaian parents and who grew up in La Botte, in Brescia, with his adopted parents, makes an appointment for the final against Spain. "My mother was at the stadium and my father watched in front of the television, I scored two goals in front of my mother, I would like to score four in front of my father in Kiev for the final! " he says to journalists.
The beefy is ultimately just a big sensitive, with a sense of family. "My best moment was when I kissed my mom after the game. I'm very happy, and I hope to be even happier on Sunday, says Mario again. I hope to score but I’m not thinking of a special celebration, no. If we win and I score, it will be fantastic, if we win and I do not score, it will be fantastic in the same way. "
Great stories don't always end like in a Hollywood movie. La Roja will outperform the Italians in the final (4-0). Mario Balotelli will not have the opportunity to celebrate anything that evening in Kiev.
Find our Top 30 matches that marked the Euro