Mario Balotelli’s girlfriend is gorgeous, she’s Italian, and everything she says is accompanied by a flick of her long mane of curly brown hair.
But while riding quad bikes around his garden, high-fiving fans from his open-top £200,000 Bentley and scoring remarkable goals for Manchester City, the £25 million striker has Raffaella, 23, to keep his home fires burning.
“He gets up early and goes to training while I do the housework,” she says. “When he comes home, I cook him a pasta lunch and we go for a swim. In the evening we might go out for dinner or I will cook him lasagne and we will watch a DVD.
“He’s very deep, but very simple too. He has similar values to me, he is very family-orientated and loves to read,” says Raffaella.
“As a Neapolitan woman, the only hands in the kitchen are mine and that’s how I keep my man happy. Also... Mario can’t cook anything.”
Since he joined Manchester City a year ago, £100,000-a-week Mario, 21, has been a constant source of gossip. He was forced to move out of his £3million mansion in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, after fireworks were set off in his bathroom. Police who stopped his car were told he had £25,000 in cash on the passenger seat “because I can” and he was quizzed by police after driving into a women’s prison “out of curiosity”.
“I was there at the time, it didn’t happen. He already has an ironing board... and I should know because I do his ironing. And he does a lot of work for charity.”
Wannabe Bond girl Raffaella was propelled to fame on Italy’s version of Big Brother at the age of 19 from a life helping out at her parents’ corner shop.
She refuses to discuss Berlusconi but when visiting Milan she stays in a £300,000 one-bedroom apartment on an exclusive housing estate built by the billionaire.
She met Mario in May at the wrap party for Italy’s I’m A Celebrity-style series, L’Isola dei Famosi. Raffaella and his sister Abigail were both contestants.
“We were introduced but apart from that didn’t talk. He got my number from Abigail and rang me the next afternoon. He said ‘Ciao, it’s Mario. I saw you on TV. You seem a very interesting and pretty person’. He struck me as sensitive and sweet.”
Raffaella says at first she had no idea who Mario was because she doesn’t follow football.
“We had a go on the rollercoasters and ate chips, popcorn and hamburgers. He was quite serious and I was a little surprised at that.
“We talked about our lives and I felt very protected, not just because of his physical presence but because he has a big heart as well. He dropped me at home but there was no kiss. It was our first date... I feel you should get to know a person better before you kiss them.”
For their second date a week later he took her to a seafood restaurant at Lake Garda. “When he took me home he said, ‘I have something for you’ and opened the boot of his car. There was a big bunch of red velvet roses.
“He didn’t try to kiss me, but just because a man takes you to dinner does not entitle him to kiss you. You have to work to get a kiss from me.”
Mario went to Los Angeles on a Man City tour for a fortnight but the couple stayed in touch and when he returned they went for dinner again at Moroccan belly-dancing restaurant El Yakult.
“Over dinner he said ‘you really mean a lot to me’. When he dropped me off he kissed me for the first time and said ‘it’s never taken me a month to get a kiss from a girl before’.
That kiss was a turning point. I realised it was something a lot more serious between us.”
A few weeks later tragedy struck when Raffaella’s father Alfonso died at the age of 68.
Mario spent two days with Raffaella at her family home, sleeping in the spare room.
She recalls: “He gifted us with his presence and his smile and my mother Antoinetta said to me, ‘You’ve really picked a good one, Raffaella’.
“On the second day, he took me shopping to cheer me up. We went past Louis Vuitton and he said, ‘Choose something’ but I said no, because I didn’t love him for his money.
“He left after two days and my mother gave me a package he had left. It was a bucket bag from Louis Vuitton and that’s when I knew that he loved me and wanted to make me happy.”
Before long he invited her to visit him in Manchester, paid for business class flights and sent a car to the airport to collect her when she landed.
Raffaella said: “He loves Manchester and likes playing there. He drove me around and I thought it was beautiful. Everyone has a house and garden, everything is orderly and tidy. People queue and respect traffic lights and parking spaces.”
Everyone except Mario, that is... he has racked up £10,000 in parking fines and collects an average of three tickets a day according to local police.
Raffaella returned for a three-week stay in August and the couple fell into a typical Italian domestic regime, with Mario giving her cash to do the shopping at the local Sainsbury’s. She goes there in chauffeur-driven luxury.
She has been invited to watch Man City games with his pals in a private box and he is now teaching her English.
Her last visit ended on Monday... and two days later she learned that Mario had been pictured with porn star and glamour model Holly Henderson, 32.
“I was scared and angry but I know how Italian papers can spin things so I wanted to hear what he had to say. He gave me all the details I needed to put my mind at rest. He explained calmly and let me know there was nothing to it.”
She won’t reveal how she is so certain of his fidelity, but the couple are still plainly on very good terms. Raffaella twice breaks off to call Mario and check facts with him.
Perhaps the answer lies in her treat-him-mean attitude: “I’m not sure when I can go back to Manchester as I’m busy,” she says. “I will be there when I can. I am not jealous of other women... perhaps he should be jealous of men chasing me!”
And, with a final flick of her locks, Raffaella turns on those sky-high heels and she’s gone.