Mario Balotelli, a former Manchester City and Liverpool forward, turned down Ghana because he didn’t want to miss out on the chance to play for Italy in the future, according to his brother Corrado Balotelli.
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) attempted to persuade Balotelli to play for the West African country in 2011, but he declined.
Instead, the 31-year-old was granted full Italian citizenship and went on to play for the Azzurri, starring in their 2012 European Championships run to the final.
“The Black Stars approached Mario and asked him to accept a call-up to the national team, where he would have been a first-choice player, but he declined.”
“He simply didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to play for Italy in the future,” Corrado said.
Guerin Sportivo quoted Balotelli as saying
Former Black Stars coach Claude Le Roy gave Balotelli his first Ghana call-up in 2007 for a friendly against Senegal.
In a friendly match against the Ivory Coast in 2010, he earned his first cap for Italy. He has over 30 caps for his country, having played in UEFA Euro 2012, the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013, and the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
He scored twice against Germany in the semi-final of Euro 2012 to help his country reach the final, and he also won bronze at the Confederations Cup. Balotelli is the joint top scorer for Italy in the UEFA European Championship and the FIFA Confederations Cup.