EuroScout

Terry v Balotelli: Football’s pantomime villains

EuroScout

When England play Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals on Sunday night, it won't just be the two nations going head-to-head. It will also be a meeting of two of the most controversial figures in the game, John Terry and Mario Balotelli.

So we decided to take a look at the lowlights - and even one or two highlights - of the careers of football's two great pantomime villains.

Both players have already hit the headlines in the tournament, with Terry being right at the heart of the  single most controversial incident with his attempted goal-line clearance against Ukraine.

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John Terry makes his controversial clearance

John Terry makes his controversial clearance

It was a classic piece of Terry defending, backs-against-the-wall stuff from a man who is lucky to even be at the tournament considering he has a court case pending.

Balotelli has also been at the heart of the action, with the decision on whether or not he should play against England becoming something of a national obsession in Italy - all the more so given his impressive late goal against Ireland to confirm his country's quarter-final spot.

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Even then, the Italian managed to turn a moment of joy into a moment of controversy as he immediately turned to the bench to harangue Cesare Prandelli for not having brought him on earlier. Luckily, Leonardo Bonucci was on hand to cover the striker's mouth with his hand - and to then tell the press that whatever Super Mario said was in English, and that he'd not understood it.

The stage is set, then, for one - or hopefully both - of the controversial stars to get involved in the mother of all blow-ups during the match in Kiev on Sunday. And to get you all in the mood to witness the likely pyrotechnics, we've summarised the best and worst of both the players' careers so far.


John Terry (England)

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John Terry


Mario Balotelli (Italy)

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Mario Balotelli


Age: 31
Club: Chelsea
Honours: Three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, one Champions League, 2004-05 PFA Player of the Year, three-times UEFA Club Defender of the Year, only English player in FIFA team of the tournament for the 2006 World Cup
International caps: 76
International goals: 6

Age
: 21
Club: Manchester City
Honours: Three Serie A titles, one Champions League, one Coppa Italia (with Inter Milan), one Premier League, one FA Cup (with Man City), 2010 Golden Boy award for Europe's best U21 player
International caps: 11
International goals: 2

On-pitch career highlights


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terry ball ukraine - 0

  • Led Chelsea to the 2004-05 title with the best defensive record in Premier League history
  • Rendered unconscious and almost died from swallowing his tongue while throwing himself at an Abou Diaby clearance in the 2007 League Cup final
  • Player the 2008 Champions League final despite having dislocated his elbow a few days earlier
  • Went in goal for the Blues in a match against Reading in 2006 when both goalkeepers were injured, and kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win

On-pitch career highlights


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2011 Mario Balotelli Why Always Me? - 0

  • Man of the match as City won the FA Cup final in 2011
  • Scored two critical goals in a Coppa Italia quarter-final against Juventus aged 17
  • Youngest ever goalscorer in the Champions League
  • Scored the first two goals in City's 6-1 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October 2011, revealing his 'Why always me?' t-shirt after the first
  • Provided the final ball for Sergio Aguero's 94th-minute winner in the final match of the season to give City the title

On-pitch career lowlights

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John Terry... misses!

  • Slipped to miss a critical penalty as Chelsea lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United in a shoot-out
  • Inexplicably kneed Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez to earn a red card in 2012 Champions League semi-final second leg
  • Rugby-tackled Manchester City's Jo to earn a straight red, though somehow had it overturned on appeal
  • Scythed down James Milner in the FA Cup semi-final in 2010 with one of the worst tackles in recent memory
    On-pitch career lowlights

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    Balotelli sees red

    • Earned four red cards in a single season in 2011-12, including critical dismissals against in the Premier League against Arsenal

    • Sent off for getting two yellow cards against Liverpool in November 2011 despite only coming on after 65 minutes
    • Stamped on Scott Parker during a match against Tottenham
    • Substituted off for attempting to score a goal with a spinning backheel rather than a simple finish, albeit in a pre-season friendly

Off-pitch career lowlights:

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  • Stripped of England captaincy in 2010 after reports emerged that he had an affair with the partner of team-mate Wayne Bridge
  • Fined two weeks' wages in 2001 for drunkenly abusing American tourists shortly after September 11
  • Unsuccessfully led a mutiny against England boss Fabio Capello during the 2010 World Cup
  • Successfully led a mutiny against Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas in February 2012
  • Ran over a member of Chelsea's security staff while driving away from Stamford Bridge after a match, and failed to stop. Police reported the man suffered a broken leg
  • Made comments towards Anton Ferdinand during match against QPR which will see him in court after the Euros defending a charge of racial abuse
  • Witnessed his dad prosecuted on charges of selling cocaine in a tabloid sting
  • Fined £60 for parking his Bentley in a disabled bay

Off-pitch career lowlights:

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Balotelli 0-1 Bib

  • Suffered £400,000 of damage to his house when fireworks were set off in his bathroom
  • Threw darts at a City youth team player because he was "bored"
  • Had a £150,000 Maserati written off when City team-mates put a bag of rotting fish in the back of it before they all headed off on  a pre-season tour
  • Fined £150,000 for going out for a midnight curry with friends which ended with mock swordfights on the tables the day before a match
  • Took a guided tour of the most notorious gangland area of Naples in the company of two Mafia mobsters
  • Had his car impounded 27 times after running up £10,000 in unpaid parking tickets
  • Bought a top-of-the-range Harley Davidson and was immediately banned from riding it
  • Infuriated Roberto Mancini so much that he threw a suitcase at him in the changing room
  • Bought two Vespas and a trampoline after being sent out by his mother to buy an ironing board from John Lewis
  • Spent five minutes unable to remove a bib he'd been wearing during a training session
Off-pitch career highlights:

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  • Named 'Dad of the Year' in 2009
  • Earned a £1 million advance for his autobiography
  • Made a large donation to secure the future of his childhood football club, Senrab
  • Successfully brushed aside allegations that he took money from an undercover reporter for a guided tour of Chelsea's training ground, and also that he allegedly tried to charge £4,000 to hire out the box at Wembley given to him as a perk of the England captaincy
Off-pitch career highlights:

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  • Gave a tramp £1,000 upon leaving a casino having just won £25,000
  • Had the wing of a school in Sudan named after him after he put up the money for its construction
  • Took a bullied boy to school and confronted his tormentors after learning of his plight when talking to him at training
  • Donated £200 to the local church and bought the entire pub a drink on a visit to the Manchester suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy

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