Balotelli idolised by Ghanaian family who have never met him

Mario Balotelli celebrated his second goal against Germany by flexing his muscles

As Italy clinched their place in today’s Euro 2012 final, two-goal hero Mario Balotelli wanted to celebrate with one special person.

Running from the edge of the pitch, he dived into the crowd in the stands to give the woman he calls “Mum” a big hug.

Emotional Mario dedicated his goals to Silvia Balotelli, the woman who brought him up from the age of three.

He said: “I told her, ‘These goals are for you.’ I waited for this moment for so long and I wanted to make my mum happy.”

Just as proud were Mario’s other family – the one he has never met – who were crouched around a TV set watching the action thousands of miles away in Ghana.

Mario was born to Ghanaian immigrants Rose and Thomas Barwuah in Palermo, Sicily.

But health problems led to him being fostered, then adopted, by Francesco and Silvia Balotelli, from Brescia.

Legally, the family separation might be complete but the Barwuah clan in Ghana have kept a close eye on Mario’s career.

Sadly, one family member missed Mario’s finest moment. His grandfather Nana, 74, a retired bus driver, died two weeks ago.

Mario, 21, had planned to visit Ghana for the first time in August to see his grandad and had sent him a baseball cap with his signature embroidered inside as a gift.

But it was not to be. His father Thomas, who still lives in Italy with Rose and their other children, had to make the heartbreaking call to his son to tell him Nana had died aged 74.

The Man City star, whose transfer value has soared to £52million, made no mention of his ­grandfather’s death in his post-match interviews, preferring to focus on his adoptive family.

But there is no ill feeling from his blood relatives, only congratulations and a hope that he will still make a visit to Ghana.

Alex Barwuah, 30, Mario’s uncle, is a mechanic by trade, earning just £75 per week – a world apart from Balotelli’s reported £120,000-a-week wages.

However, he could not be happier for his famous nephew.

He said: “We are all extremely proud of him. It was wonderful when he scored both goals and we were ecstatic. When he pulled his shirt off after scoring, my friends made me do the same thing. It made me feel closer to him.

“I’m so proud he is part of the family. I feel sad, though, that we have never met and that my father never saw his grandson.

“My father watched every game he could showing Mario and longed to meet him but it was not possible. I hope now Mario comes to see us and gets to learn about his ancestors.”

Alex lives a modest life in Zone Five of the gold mining town of Konongo, which has a population of just 40,000.

With its shacks and dusty roads it is a far cry from the bright lights of Milan and Manchester where Balotelli has plied his trade.

Alex is philosophical about their different lives, saying: “I am very pleased at his success and understand that he is rich now but the professional life of a footballer is an extremely short one.”

On his 18th birthday, Mario gained Italian citizenship and there have been reports that he had turned his back on his Ghanaian heritage. However, the Barwuahs have never stopped following his career.

Kwaku Awuah, Balotelli’s grandfather on his mother’s side, also wants to welcome his grandson “home”.

Kwaku, 80, said: “It’s pathetic to have a superstar as a grandson but to have never set eyes on him. It makes me so sad whenever I see him on TV or read about him in the papers.

“I’m not interested in his money. I just want to tell him to come back to his roots because, as the saying goes, there really is no place like home sweet home.”

Akosua Osaa Barwuah, Mario’s aunt and his father Thomas’s sister, is also upset she has never been able to meet her nephew.

Akosua, 44, a market trader, said: “I feel so sad whenever I see him on TV.

“My brother Thomas sent me Mario’s picture when he was about three. I have a nephew of this calibre and I’ve never set eyes on him.”

In the streets outside the Barwuah family home, children play football wearing shirts from some of Europe’s biggest teams. Everyone in Konongo knows the name Balotelli and his 45 shirt, even though he has never set foot in the country.

And UEFA have confirmed Balotelli had ­registered his shirt name as “Barwuah ­Balotelli”, indicating he recognises his roots. But as yet he has not worn a shirt with the name on it.

Balotelli might be a man with a hefty price tag on his head, but he has been in trouble both on and off the pitch.

There’ve been car crashes and trouble with indoor fireworks which forced him to move out of his home.

Man City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted if they had been team-mates he may have hit him.

Now he seems to have got his life on track and he has become a football superstar.

His goals against Germany have made him the bookmakers’ favourite to claim the Euro 2012 Golden Boot accolade.

And he has two families, as well as thousands of fans, wishing him well and roaring him on to glory.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. Andrew in nigeria says:

    Did a GSN journalist really write this or was it culled from somewhere else? It’s the best piece i’ve read on this site.

    • Africanus says:

      I certainly agree with you that this is the best piece so far. I don’t think GSN wrote this, they can’t possibly, they are better at sensationalizing the news rather than crafting a fine piece of written work. Hope they prove me wrong.

  2. STICKY says:

    I REALLY WISH BALLOTELI VISITS HOME

  3. KT says:

    I seriously do no see how Barwuah can relate to Ghana. He is Italian now. The family here can only dream to meet him here in Ghana, a trip I doubt he would ever make. They are just over him because of his fame and wealth, its normal though, we are humans and we all would have done same. But they should just let him be.

  4. Balotelli says:

    This family is sick. Balotteli should be left alone. You never took care of him. You should reap what you sow. You want to chop his money ah ah!

  5. deathrow says:

    I know by now parents who give birth and throw their child in an adopt or orphanage home due to financial problems will now think twice. What bothers me about Mario issue is, his dad told BBC Sports that,they have no money to take care of him plus he`s got some heart problems which the doctor says he is 90% likely won`t survive and he and his wife are going to london due to destitute life in Italy. The Question i always wanted to ask is, the London that they are relocating from Italy,are they not going to eat or drink? Any means that a parents will do to full their stomach,they should do the same to feed their children,after all you can`t tell me that you don`t eat or drink even when you claim your are poor at that time mario was born. this is Bull shit

    • Africanus says:

      Personally I don’t think the parents were wrong to seek help from somebody who could better take care of him. The child may have died if the parents had held onto him, given that they were not in a position to finance his hefty health bills. They probably saved the child by the decision they made.

      Where the parents went wrong though was their failure to keep in touch with the child and the adopted family. They should have traveled back occasionally to connect with him, to keep the family bond alive.

  6. Kpogas says:

    That was why he opted Italy, no wonder. He shouldn’t be blamed.

  7. nicholas marfo says:

    gsn pls learn to give credit to the source. Mirrorfootball.com publish this news on thursday. tnx.

  8. malcom adiche says:

    for heaven sake. just leave the boy alone he is lost focus on our own people who think they are Ghanians

  9. fenandohussien says:

    Aben enti mo m3 gye nokodi



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