Despite the Italy squad being under orders to lay low in their Salvador de Bahia hotel on the eve of their Confederations Cup match with Brazil, Mario Balotelli wasn’t to be kept cooped up indoors.
Fascinated with Bahia since his visit there in 2008 aged 17, Balotelli again felt himself compelled to go down and meet the people, a mostly black and mixed race part of Brazil, far from the bright lights of Rio or commerce of Sao Paulo.
He clearly feels a close connection with the people, as shown by his excitement in tweeting, ‘I look just like a person fro Bahia!’
Balo provoked scenes of great joy and excitement by simply going walkabout without a care in the world, stopping to take pictures with stunned Bahians.
For all the negative attention he often brings on himself, this was a wonderful act of generosity which most pampered modern footballers wouldn’t even consider doing in their free time.
Watch Mario ‘Man of the People’ Balotelli wandering around and meeting the people of Bahia on the clips below.