It has emerged that Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli declined an opportunity to speak and receive questions at the Cambridge Union Society in Easter Term.
Tabloid reports over the weekend suggest that the Italian footballer, who has gained a high profile in recent years, cited an intensified commitment to his work and a disinterest in publicity as reasons for his rejection of the ancient debating society’s invitation.
Balotelli’s eccentric and often mischievous exploits have secured him a place in the media limelight. In October last year, on the eve of last season’s Manchester derby, fire crews had to put out a blaze at Balotelli’s Cheshire home after he let off fireworks in a bathroom.
Were he to have accepted the invitation, his alleged connections with the Naples mafia and an unexplained visit to a women’s prison in 2010 were likely to have been explored.
Balotelli’s dismissal of the Union’s invitation follows a number of instances in which he has turned down chances to appear in speak in public, he has also been reported to have rejected a number of offers to appear on UK television chat shows.
Speaking to The Mirror, a City source testified to the footballer’s self-effacing streak, observing: “He doesn’t go around thinking what he can do next to get people talking about him.”
Current Union Society President, Austin Mahler, expressed his disappointment, telling The Cambridge Student (TCS): “The Union invited Mr Balotelli to address the Society in April, with a view to a possible visit for the Easter Term. It’s unfortunate that he declined, but it is inevitable that some of the potential speakers we invite will not be able to accept for various reasons.”
Alice Gormley, News Reporter