AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has insisted media reports about his supposedly outlandish behaviour are mostly wrong.
During the 22-year-old’s time at Manchester City, rumours of numerous misdemeanours circulated, including an incident where he set off fireworks in his own house.
“They invent too many stories about me,” he told Le Iene.
“I never burned my house down, never came to blows with Manchester United fans and never wore Milan’s socks to training at Inter – 0.01 per cent of what they say about me is true.
“I’ve destroyed zero cars, and the only real fine I’ve ever paid was when I came to Italy instead of celebrating the title (last season) with Manchester City.
“As a child, I’ve been unable to do the normal things of boys my age. You can have a nice car or house, but sometimes it makes it hard for me to try to be seen as a normal guy.”
Balotelli also played down talk of rifts with ex-coaches Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini despite widely publicised run-ins, and revealed his admiration for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I was lucky enough to have coaches who were all great. I had a lot of quarrels with Mourinho on the field, but I also remember good times and joy, when we laughed,” he said.
“With Mancini, I committed a foul in training and he was angry, but nothing more. We’ve reconciled.
“There are three players who I admire and who are stronger than me – Messi, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic. I hope to become the strongest player in the world. That I have not won the Ballon d’Or is my own fault.”