Nine years on, Mario Balotelli has come up with a reason for the reckless backheel in Los Angeles. Do you remember it? The one that had American commentators hammering him for “disrespecting LA Galaxy”.

By the mention of the name Mario Balotelli, a flashback on midway through a friendly on Manchester City’s tour to the west coast flashes into mind. Balotelli awkwardly spun on his heels when clean through flick wide without a care in the world.

Eventually, City staff being the operative word shrugged their shoulders at the incident.

And finally, after nine years, he has come up with a reason for the reckless backheel. Isn’t he funny?

“I thought I was offside.” Said Balotelli.

“Listen to the whistle before I shot. That’s why I did it”.

Indeed, there was an audible whistle that sounded like it had emanated from a middle-aged bloke decked in clown gear at a fairground. Certainly, the whistle sound never came from the referee.

After all, that was Mario. The pass he slid to Sergio Aguero nine months later was a key ingredient in the most dramatic Premier League title race ever.

Most surprisingly, Balotelli will always be welcomed at the Etihad Stadium with open arms as he was for Vincent Kompany’s testimonial last year. There is fondness and a special place for him in East Manchester.

However, the affection in Manchester City does not extend to many other areas in Europe as Balotelli’s career is on a downward trajectory for a while now.

After a season, he left Brescia. This is a relationship that began to unravel when the Serie A strugglers updated his medical details on their website to claim the striker was eight kilograms overweight.

He was denied entry into the training ground when sessions resumed after lifting lockdown restrictions in Italy. Moreover, his last appearance came on 9th March and Brescia were subsequently relegated.

In search of a new job

Shockingly, the striker is in search for new employers with Romanian champions CFR Cluj being next. Owner Nelutu Varga had spoken about signing a “top Italian striker” which has been taken to mean Balotelli.

In Brazil, Flamengo has shown interest in signing the 29-year-old. Hopefully, he lands on a new job.