AC Milan footballer Mario Balotelli has been in the news for the wrong reasons on several occasions. This time though, the Italian is making headlines for the most bizarre reason.
According to a report in UK's Daily Mail, Malaysian officials have claimed that one of two menÂ on board the missing Malaysian Airlines plane - allegedly traveling on stolen passports, resembled Balotelli. The Boeing 777 aircraft with 239 people on board disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing nearly three days ago.
While search operations have now involved teams from 10 countries to locate the missing plane, Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman is believed to have said that one of the two suspects resembled the 23-year-old Italian of African origin. "Do you know of a footballer by the name of (Mario) Balotelli? He is an Italian. Do you know how he looks like?" he told reporters when asked for a description of the suspects. Rahman then replied in the affirmative when asked if the suspect was of African origin. (Also read: Minister blasted on social media for using Balotelli's reference)
Balotelli of course, has been busy playing for Milan. After a recent shoulder injury, he is allÂ set to start for his side against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Being used as a reference to a suspect on a missing flight though would come as a surprise to the striker who has previously made headlines for reasons including fathering a love child, spending hefty sums on partying with women before crucial matches and having a tumultuous relationship with Premier League side Manchester City due to his disciplinary issues.