Mario Balotelli's Italian homecoming

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Brescia as a city also seemed to feel the connection. It returned Balotelli's affection. When he was gone, Brescia had changed. He remembers countless cases from his youth in which he felt like an outstanding player: the only black player not only in a team, but on the entire field. He once told a teacher that he was trying to wash the paint off his skin. he asked if his "heart was black too."

According to Stefano Brasetti, Balotelli's personal trainer, the city is "proudly multicultural". Around 19 percent of the population is based outside the European Union – people who have been attracted from outside the European Union due to the wealth and the work available. Lombardy, one of the richest regions in Italy. The province now has 156,000 immigrants, and Brescia itself has large communities from Pakistan, India, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria.

So Balotelli returned not only to a city that, as one of the oratorio's employees said, always liked to call him "one of us", but also to a city that had felt comfortable in her multi-colored skin. Now every team, every field has black players. He could finally feel like he was one of them.

During the summer, Balotelli worked out in Brasetti's gym while waiting for his future. To improve his fitness, he occasionally ran with his brother Enock Barwuah in the city's parks. He was stopped countless times and invited to local pickup games. He never refused.

"He is a star, especially for children," said Brasetti. "Whenever they come up to him, he devotes himself entirely to them."