Finally, Balotelli in Position to Thrive

Peter DeJong/AP

Mario Balotelli has to be the oldest 22-year-old in the world, having dealt with a host of hardships nobody his age should have to endure.

It all began as an infant when he nearly died due to a problem with his intestines. Since then, he's become estranged from his biological parents, been the victim of the ugliest racial abuse imaginable, used as fodder by the English tabloid press, and suffered the indignity of having to wait until his 18th birthday to request Italian citizenship - even though he was born and raised in Italy.

Really, is it any wonder that from time to time he's displayed "an attitude" or that he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder?

Granted, Super Mario can be his own worst enemy, sometimes acting as a petulant child after being subbed out...

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