Mario Balotelli: Why doesn't the Liverpool striker smile when he scores important goals?

Balotelli's first Premier League goal for Liverpool was greeted as if his side had just conceded

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The Independent Football

Phil Neville may have been harsh in his criticism of Mario Balotelli for not celebrating his goal against Tottenham, but he may have a point without fully understanding it himself. The fact is Balotelli doesn’t celebrate his goals by smiling.

Take his edge-of-the-box strike for Manchester City that prompted the famous ‘Why Always Me’ T-shirt against their fierce rivals, or his goal against England during Italy’s 2-1 World Cup victory last summer. They are probably two of Balotelli’s most important goals of his career, and yet he didn’t smile once.

The Italian plays a physical game when he’s at his best that can sometimes see him fall on the wrong side of the law when it comes to the referee. With this in mind, perhaps it’s not a surprise to see Balotelli appearing to be on edge when he scores. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t like going berserk like some in the Premier League.

 

Having agreed to follow his former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini to Manchester City, Balotelli was announced as their latest signing on 12 August 2010. Was he delighted to move to the Premier League? Well, you can decide for yourself from the picture, but at least he looks slightly happier than Aaron Lennon did when he joined Everton on transfer deadline day.

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Balotelli is unveiled as a City player alongside Mancini

It wasn’t long before Balotelli was scoring a hat-trick for City as he put three goals past Aston Villa in December of that year. Instead of celebrating as any normal striker would tend to – perhaps pick up the ball they would be taking him and run to the fans to soak up the adulation – Balotelli simply looked around him while holding up three fingers. Yes, Mario, three goals.

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Balotelli reacts after scoring his third goal against Aston Villa in December 2010

When Balotelli netted the winner against Manchester United in October 2011, he famously revealed a shirt that simply read ‘Why Always Me’? He went on to explain that with the help of City kit ,an Les ‘Chappy’ Chapman, he wore the shirt to respond to recent events that had seen him fall under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

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Balotelli unveils a T-shirt with the caption 'Why always me' on it

Having returned to Italy for a brief spell, Balotelli was soon back in the Premier League, but his wait for a first league goal went on and on and on until Spurs came to Anfield last night. Had his time away from the English top flight taught him how to celebrate? Not a chance. Balotelli simply turned to his right, embraced the delighted Adam Lallana and returned to the halfway line for kick-off, before disappearing down the tunnel as soon as the final whistle was blown.

 

But fear not, for Balotelli soon posted a picture on his Instagram page with a big grin on his face, claiming that he was smiling for the fans that continued to believe in his ability and skill despite his run of poor form.

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