AC Milan Fans Riot While Celebrating Arrival of Mario Balotelli (Video)
As big as football is in the United States, the sport still cannot quite boast about having the country’s undivided attention the way, say, hockey captures the undivided attention of Canadians. And as big as hockey is in Canada, it still somehow pails in comparison to the love of soccer pretty much everywhere else.
Need proof? Well, in Milan yesterday, fans of AC Milan rioted outside a restaurant just because their newest superstar player was having dinner there. Could you imagine something like that happening in Denver last year when the Broncos were courting Peyton Manning? Or in Toronto if, somehow, the Maple Leafs were courting Sidney Crosby?
No way! Sure, Toronto would go mad if the Leafs brought Crosby to town, but there would be no riots.
Anyway, that superstar player who sparked a riot simply by having dinner at a restaurant? It’s none other than Mario Balotelli. After helping Machester City win the EPL title last season, the wacky Italian seems to have worn out his welcome this year. In fact, earlier in the month, he even got into a fight at Man City’s training grounds…with his coach, Roberto Mancini.
So Manchester City agreed to sell him to AC Milan for about $30 million.
But why is that such a huge deal in Milan? Well you see, he started his career with AC Milan’s crosstown rival, Internazionale. And while there, he pissed off a lot of people, including Inter fans. How did he do this? By wearing an AC Milan jersey during a TV interview, which would be like a White Sox player wearing a Cubs jersey during an interview.
Needless to say, Balotelli (who grew up rooting for the Rossoneri) became well-liked by AC Milan fans because of this, and because of his significant contributions to the Italian national team. So when word got out that Balotelli was sent to AC Milan and that he was having dinner with team CEO Adriano Galliani, fans poured onto the street to celebrate. And from there things got ugly—like, riot cops and tear gas ugly.
Check it out: