Mario Balotelli’s celebration at scoring the winner for Liverpool against Everton was not the first time that the former AC Milan man has been recognised by fans.
He is, however, the man most recognised by his peers, according to a new study.
The research, carried out by the sports psychology firm Sportbrain, revealed that Mario Balotelli is the second-most liked football player in Italy.
He was followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, who was recognised by 39 per cent of respondents.
Ronaldo is not the only top scorer who has been chosen as a top footballer by his fellow fans, as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Messi are also recognised by their peers.
Mario Balotti has also won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award twice, and he was awarded the Ballon de la Republique as well.
“Mario Balotellis most important attribute is his performance in all the competitions and in the World Cup,” the study’s authors wrote.
“Mario is an example of a player who can win matches, be an influential figure in football, and has been a major player in the history of Italian football.”
While Mario has been at the forefront of Italian clubs for the past 10 years, the Ballo d’Oro and the Champions League are two of the most prestigious leagues in Europe.
In recent years, his exploits have earned him the nickname ‘Mario the Baller’.
The study, which examined the reactions of more than 200 people, also revealed that players who scored more goals in Serie A, the Champions Leagues and La Liga have been chosen by their teams more than their counterparts in other leagues.
Mario has been instrumental in helping the Italian football team win the Premier League, La Liga, and Champions League.
However, his goal scoring record has come under scrutiny, particularly when it comes to the World Cups.
Mario is currently leading Italy to the Quarter-finals of the World Championships, having scored five goals in the group stage, three goals in Group A and one goal in Group B.