Former Norwich City and Aston Villa striker Grant Holt once admitted he thought Mario Balotelli was a “twat” when the Manchester City striker cheekily scored a goal with his shoulder.
The mischievous Italian striker never failed to shock with his mischievous antics both on and off the pitch. But with one little shoulder flick during the Citizens’ 5-1 demolition of Norwich at the Etihad Stadium in 2011, Balotelli demonstrated his showmanship, cheekiness, and perhaps most of all, his ability to infuriate.
After initially producing a very good, close-range save from Balotelli, then Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was forced to watch the ball painfully spin into the air and drop onto the shoulder of the Italian striker who was less than two yards from goal. And Holt very clearly highlighted his and Norwich's feelings towards his unique strike.
“You know you’ve got to defend, you know it’s going to be hard and you know you are going to get spankings,” Holt said to the Under The Cosh podcast in 2018 when asked about his Premier League experience with Norwich. “I was there at Manchester City when Balotelli did the shoulder goal.
“You just think ‘you t***’ – you know when he gave the old shoulder on the line. Then we had Tevez, who came here on his first game back and scored a hattrick, doing his old golf celebration.
“You know you are going to get spanked but you have to take some little glimpses, scoring, getting a point here and there.” Balotelli contributed 20 Premier League goals on the blues side of Manchester, but very few are as memorable and cheeky as his effort against the East Anglians.
Do you think Mario Balotelli scored with his shoulder to wind up Norwich City? Let us know in the comments
However, Balotelli has previously offered a different explanation to his shoulder flick, stating it was the only way he was able to find the back of the net. While the football world assumed he did it as an act of gamesmanship or defiance to then manager Roberto Mancini, Balotelli claimed he was not able to head the ball into the back of the net and decided to use his shoulder instead.
“I shot the ball and the keeper saved it and then the ball went hight,” Balotelli said in an interview with Noel Gallagher in 2012. “I thought it was going out so I was underneath the crossbar.
“I saw the ball come down, but I could not go with the head because I was too late, so I thought I should go with the shoulder.” Whatever you say Mario!
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