..before a plate of Jollof rice
There is an African proverb that says no matter how long a leopard gets pelted by the rains, it will never lose its spots. Well, Italian striker Mario Balotelli has confirmed this African adage.
After all, he says he’s back to his Ghanaian roots.
After denying for several years that he is a Ghanaian and even went to the extent of using abusive words on the West African country who were trying to get him to honour his roots by playing for their main senior national team – The Black Stars, Balotelli has finally admitted he is a Ghanaian.
The controversial AC Milan star striker who played for Italy at the 2014 World Cup posted a picture of himself on his official Facebook page eating a typical Ghanaian delicacy – Jollof rice and wrote: “Back to my Ghanaian roots. Eating Jollof rice for the first time in 15 years.”
The post attracted over 90,000 shares on the social media site and claimed up to 3,000 comments within 5 hours with most Ghanaian fans storming the page to splash their comments.
Balotelli was born to immigrant Ghanaian parents in Italy but was adopted by an Italian couple as his then poverty-stricken Ghanaian family could not take proper care of him.
The striker grew up rather allying himself to the culture and beliefs of the European country, ditching his roots to commit his international future with the Azzuris (Italy’s senior men’s football team).
It is not as if Ghana expected him to just ‘come to his senses’ and honour his roots by responding to numerous invitations and efforts put in by former Ghana coach Claude Leroy who did everything possible together with the Kwesi Nyantakyi led Ghana Football Association administration to convince him to play for Ghana.
But this rather created a small feud between some Italian and Ghanaian fans as the West African fans responded to social media insults that Ghanaians were thieves.
In 2010, the Italian persona condemned his biological parents for granting an interview to a local newspaper lamenting how they lost him to his adopted parents.
However, could the new twist to his story mean a personal regret for ditching his roots since his teenage?
Do you think Ghanaians should ever consider Mario Balotelli as one of them after representing Italy and rejecting Ghana?