Former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been involved in a serious car crash in his native Italy.
The 33-year-old totalled his car in a heavy collision in the Italian town of Brescia but managed to walk away from the wreckage without suffering any significant injuries.
Local Italian newspaper Fatto Quotidiano reports the crash occurred at 8.30pm on Thursday night in Balotelli’s hometown Orzinuovi.
The striker was in Italy after being granted leave from Turkish Super Lig club Adana Demispor while he recovers from an injury.
He was fortunate to walk away without any serious injuries from the huge shunt after colliding with a wall whilst he was behind the wheel of his Audi Q8 car.
The force of the crash is said to have been heavy enough to set off the air bags inside the vehicle.
Parademics were called to the scene and they helped Balotelli get out of the car. He was later seen lying on the ground beside the wreckage, but it is widely reported he managed to escape unhurt.
Balotelli’s brother, Enock Barwuah, visited the scene of crash after returning from training with his local team and escorted him home after it was deemed he did not require medical treatment.
It is not the first time Balotelli has been involved in a car crash. Back in 2012, he and a female passenger were involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Corsa while driving his luxury Bentley car in the Deansgate Locks area. However, it later emerged that Balotelli was not at fault.
The former Italy international joined City in 2010 from Inter Milan when Roberto Mancini was in charge and he was part of the Premier League title-winning side in 2011-12.
It was Balotelli’s assist that set up Sergio Aguero to score the famous 94th-minute winner at the Etihad Stadium in their 3-2 win over QPR.
He returned to Italy with AC Milan after a falling out with Mancini and spent two seasons at the San Siro before making a shock return to England with Liverpool in 2015.
He made only 28 appearances and scored four goals for the Anfield club, only for him to depart for a second spell with Milan.
After spells in France with Nice and Marseille, he headed back to Italy to rejoin his hometown club Brescia in 2019.
Short-lived stints with Monza, Adana Demirspor and Sion followed, and Balotelli decided to re-sign with the Turkish club this summer as a free agent.
He has recently backed himself to win his place in the Italy national team, with the last of his 36 caps coming back in 2018.
Balotelli often made the headlines for the wrong reasons with his off-pitch antics during his eventful two-year spell with City, from setting off fireworks to adopting a pet pig.
He recently admitted he regretted leaving City at the age of 22 and felt he could have gone on to win a Ballon d’Or if he had stayed at the club, using Sergio Aguero as an example.
“I think that was my biggest mistake, to leave City,” he told The Athletic in 2022. “Even in the year when I left, I played very well in Milan for a year and a half, but after that, I had some problems. And now that I’m older, I know that I shouldn’t have left City at that time.
“All these years seeing City improving, improving and improving. I could have been here like Sergio Aguero for a long time. If I had my mindset now [laughs]. When I was at City, probably one [Ballon d’Or] I could have won, I’m sure about this. But you know, when you grow up, you mature more, so.”