Mario Balotelli was muzzled by a teammate after scoring a goal to help Italy beat Ireland at Euro 2012 on Monday.
Italy was up 1-0 when Balotelli scored an acrobatic goal in the 90th minute off a corner kick to put the game out of reach. After he scored, teammate Leonardo Bonucci ran over and covered Balotelli’s mouth as a preventative measure to keep the loose cannon from spouting off.
“Whatever he said, he said it in English and I didn’t understand it,” Bonucci said after Italy’s 2-0 win. “I put my hand in front of him because Mario is instinctive, and that’s also his strength. We spoke with him and he knew how he should have behaved.”
It’s understandable why he felt the need to cover his teammate’s mouth. Balotelli is the same guy who set his house on fire with some fireworks last October. He’s also produced one of the most embarrassing plays on a pitch that we’ve seen. You never know what the 21-year-old striker is capable of, and after coming off the bench as a substitute, he was probably already irritated.
Italy finished second in Group C play behind Spain and will face the Group D winner on Sunday.
Video of Balotelli’s goal and the odd celebration is below: