Mario Balotelli was once again larger than life both on and off the pitch on Wednesday night, as he helped AC Milan into the group stage of this season’s Uefa Champions League.
Milan’s qualification hung in the balance after their tough first-leg match against PSV Eindhoven in Holland last week.
Their away goal meant they were in the driver’s seat, but the San Siro has been anything but a fortress of them for late, and they still had much to do in the second-leg to secure their place in Thursday evening’s group stage draw.
As it happened, Super Mario managed to score his first goal in Europe for Milan, as they powered to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
And considering the abuse he and his team-mates received after their shock Serie A defeat to Hellas Verona last weekend, Balotelli was in the mood to celebrate.
“We’re delighted to have played a great game,” he told Sky Sport.
“We did so in the first leg too and we were really keen on this because the Champions League is important. If you can’t cope with pressure, then you’d be better off not playing football.
“We’ve passed the test, but then if on Sunday we go and play badly, you’ll say were immature. I think we are mature, even before the Verona game. Since last year, we’re well on our way to becoming the true Milan.
“We need to grow, like everybody, but slowly but surely we will reach perfection.”
Meanwhile, Super Mario continues to look as if he will be a Milan legend, as he grows into his role as their new talisman, and the spearhead of their attack.
There was doom and gloom in Milan when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sold to PSG last season, but when it was suggested that Super Mario could be the new Ibra, the Italy international responded with his customary confident charm.
“That’s a good compliment……For Ibra!” he joked.