Mario Balotelli, was born Mario Barwuah in Polermo, Sicily, Italy and raised in Concesio, Brescia, Italy.
Balotelli was born to Ghanian immigrants, Thomas and Rose Barwuah, who are Christians and apparently quite devout. But Balotelli, as a baby and young child, had severe intestinal problems, so much so that his parents thought it wise to give him to a wealthy family, the Balotellis, in Northern Italy.
The twist? The Balotellis are Jewish. So what does that make Mario? Well, he is estranged from his Christian parents, who have attempted to renew ties to their son, but Balotelli doesn’t seem interested. He feels they are only interested in him for his money. However, his father disagrees, saying:
How can he say we just want to know him for his money? It’s not true. We don’t want any money. We are Christians.
So Christian seems unlikely. But does he consider himself Jewish. It’s hard to say. When his football team made a visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, reports implied that Balotelli was rather moved by the experience. And he has been the victim of neo-Nazi hate groups who consider him a double-whammy at both black and Jewish.
But nothing has come from Mario’s mouth on the subject, and the Jew-rating website, “Jew or Not Jew,” designated him as “Sadly, Not a Jew” so we’ll have to give him the vague and unsatisfactory label of non-religous.
Indulge my little story, if you will: It was summer of 2012 and I was on a two month trip to Europe. During which, I watched most of the European Soccer Final games in which Germany played. I watched them stomp Greece, barely best England and, when Balotelli scored two goals against them playing for Italy, I watched normally stoic, structured Germans literally cry (even the men). It was during these moments that I knew football (or soccer to my American sensibilities) was really quite political.
But beyond being a hero for his adopted country, (he gained citizenship at the age of 18 ) Boletelli isn’t all that political. No comments on the EU or the shaky state of the Euro. No, he’s a regular footballer, and not even patriotic enough to turn down a lucrative contract with British team, Manchester United. But perhaps he’ll be more inclined to comment on the state of society once he retires. Keep us posted in the comments.