He’s already well known for his explosive temperament, but there were actual fireworks on Mario Balotelli’s first evening as an AC Milan player.
Report by DailyMail
The striker, just off the plane to complete a £20m move from Manchester City, would have been hoping for a quiet meal with club vice-president Adriano Galliani to help him settle in.
But Milan’s fans had other ideas. Hundreds of Ultras waving banners and setting off fireworks and flares gathered outside Milan’s Giannino Restaurant where he was set to dine with the club’s hierarchy.
And video footage showed Balotelli, wearing an orange cap, jumping up and down right in the thick of it.
The celebrations ended in a fight between fans and police when tear gas was fired to disperse the noisy crowd. Bottles were thrown and a policeman was taken to hospital after being struck on the head.
The Italian sports journalist Tancredi Palmeri tweeted about the clashes. “Police charging several hundreds of Milan fans outside restaurant where Balotelli was, need to use teargas,” he wrote.
He later added: “Few policeman hospitalized (none serious) after the clashes between Milan fans and police outside the restaurant where Balotelli is.”
In a test of loyalty, the Ultras chanted “He who doesn’t jump is nerazzurro (an Inter Milan fan)” while setting off fireworks – both Balotelli and Galliani jumped.
It capped a typically chaotic day for Balotelli, who was greeted by a frenzied crowd when he arrived at hospital in Busto Arsizio for his medical. After leaving hospital three-and-a-half hours later, Balotelli went straight off to the city centre restaurant – where his welcome was a little more lively than envisaged.
Shortly after arriving at Malpensa Airport at around 3pm, Balotelli paraded the Milan shirt and spoke to reporters.
“I wanted play for Milan since long time ago,” he said. “Before I played for another team and I couldn’t come. Now I had this chance and I ran.
“I started this season with City not very well and I hope to change the situation here. I felt inside me that one day I would have come.
“I took important decisions and I hope they will be lucky for me and for Milan.”
“Balo is back” screamed the front of La Gazzetta dello Sport. Balotelli is back in Milan and in line to make his debut in a friendly on Thursday against an amateur side from his home town of Brescia.
The 22-year-old was expected to have dinner with Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi last night and a press conference has been scheduled for today.