Mario Balotelli is the top earner in Swiss football at FC Sion

FC Sion raises millions for the Italian striker. In front of the media, Balotelli is concerned about tempering himself and presents himself as if he were talking about a meditation seminar.

Mario Balotelli speaks to the media in manners as if he couldn’t hurt a fly.

Jean Christophe Bott / Keystone

The effect unfolds in the media room of FC Sion initially without words. Mario Balotelli enters the room, mumbles a few greetings and sits down at the table. Dark skin, black t-shirt, black hat with the image of a panther. A gold chain around her neck, a ring with a cross dangles from her ear.

This is how the footballer presents himself in Sion, “in the middle of mountains”, as Balotelli describes his new place of work. Various cameras are in position and, by Swiss standards, there is an above-average number of media present. Securitas is on guard at the entrance. In the communiqué, the club expresses an “immense honor”.

What started with a meeting on June 19 was finalized on August 31st. You worked all day, says Barthélémy Constantin, the club’s head of sport and the son of the club boss Christian Constantin. Young Constantin is more nervous than usual, his shirt is unbuttoned, his eyes dart back and forth restlessly.

The emotions consume everything

The club gets the hoped-for boost, the club that lives without Balotelli emotions, but has been chasing successes for years. As if the emotions would consume everything, as if despair and unrest were the only advisors.

And now Mario Balotelli, who has a checkered history as a footballer. He tempers with soft words, in English, Italian and even some French. The conflict he recently had with coach Vincenzo Montella in front of everyone in Turkey? Not worth mentioning, a brief loss of control, reconciliation rounded off with mutual appreciation and best wishes for the future.

There’s the matter of his reputation, which isn’t always beyond reproach. “I don’t care about my reputation. The people who know me know what I am like. I made a few mistakes, which are played up in each case.” The message: this is where the real Balotelli sits, the calm, good footballer who scores goals and puts himself in the limelight. Don’t worry, everything is fine.

Balotelli is getting an Italian coach in Paolo Tramezzani, which the player expressly welcomes. He says: “It’s different than people think. I have no problems with coaches.” Balotelli exchanged views with Gennaro Gattuso, another Italian who stopped in Valais. Gattuso said nothing bad and, according to the striker, only pointed out that “the winter will be very cold”.

He earns 1.5 million a year – plus bonuses

Balotelli is 32 years old, so not a star pensioner, and FC Sion is in the middle of a million dollar game. The transfer from Adana Demirspor to Sion Constantin should cost 3 million euros, the “Gazzetta dello Sport” writes of a fixed annual salary of 1.5 million euros plus bonuses. Nobody in Swiss football has ever earned more. The two children who live in Zurich and northern Italy also influenced the choice of destination. The contract is dated until 2024.

FC Sion plays FC Basel at the Stade de Tourbillon on Saturday. “He’s ready for a few minutes of action,” says Balotelli. The Italian knows “not much” about Swiss football. uncharted territory. Maybe he’ll let the excitement next to the lawn be followed by the same excitement on the lawn. Constantin has everything he wants anyway: theater.

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