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Mario Balotelli's double life... - Mario & The Italian Parents

Super Mario is born: Balotelli (right) aged three years old

The Balotellis, a white Italian family, lived in a large house in Concesio, an affluent town six miles north of Brescia. They could offer two-year-old Mario a lifestyle of which Mr Barwuah and his wife could only dream.

Mr Barwuah said: ‘At first we were not sure but we decided it was probably best for Mario. We saw him every week and we all got on really well.

‘We thought that at some point, once things had sorted out, Mario would come back to us. But instead, every time we tried to get him back, the Balotellis kept extending the foster time.’

Mr Barwuah said the family initially agreed to a one-year foster placement, which was then extended by a further 12 months. But their eldest son gradually slipped further and further away from them.

‘We couldn’t afford lawyers to fight for us, so Mario grew more and more distant,’ he said.

‘He would come and visit and play with his brothers and sisters but he just didn’t seem to have any time for us, his mother and father.

‘We wanted him back for more than 10 years but, every time we tried, the courts blocked it and as the years passed he became colder towards us. The Balotellis know people and are influential and we could do nothing.’

Day of reckoning: Balotelli with his proud foster parents as he gains Italian citizenship

Balotelli was never officially adopted but made a conscious decision to turn his back on his Ghanaian heritage. He took the surname of his adopted parents and represented Italy’s Under 21 side.

Perhaps it was the teenager’s way of surviving in the racially charged cauldron of northern Italy, where he was regarded as an outsider.

As his foster mother has said: ‘He was born and raised in Italy but had to suffer the humiliation and hardships of being considered a foreigner.’

In 2008, on his 18th birthday, Balotelli gained Italian citizenship and an Italian identification card — at a ceremony at Concesio’s city hall to which the Barwuahs were not invited.

‘We didn’t know anything about that until we saw it on the news,’ said Mr Barwuah. ‘I didn’t even know he had taken the surname Balotelli. I thought he would still have our surname.’

It was also in 2008 that Balotelli claimed during a television interview that his birth parents had abandoned him in a hospital. The footballer had by then found fame at Inter Milan and claimed the Barwuahs were only interested in him for his money.

‘If I didn’t become Mario Balotelli then Mr and Mrs Barwuah would not have cared about me for anything,’ he said.

The accusation is deeply painful for Balotelli’s biological father, but Mr Barwuah’s patience is running out. His response is passionate and exasperated. He knows there is little chance of change now.

Mr Barwuah said: ‘Mario was convinced we had abandoned him in a hospital but that’s just not true. That is the Balotelli family putting something into his head and it really hurts.

Proud father: Thomas Barwuah

‘We have always loved Mario but he has changed. It’s the Balotellis — they have made him turn against us.

‘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.

‘Do you know what he has started saying now? That we beat him as a child. It’s a lie. We never touched him. We would never beat him. We gave him all the love we could.

‘We have done nothing wrong. We want more than anything to have our son back but now I think it’s too late.’Mr Barwuah said he saw Mario last month and the striker told him he would be moving to Manchester. But there will be no family visits to England this season.



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