Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mario Balotelli's no wildman, says girlfriend Raffaella Fico, he's a mummy's boy who's fallen in love with my lasagne

Raffaella Fico (Pic:
Raffaella Fico
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.
Mario Balotelli celebrates a goal against Manchester United (pic: Action Images)
Her boyfriend has become one of the most talked-about footballers in the world... as much for his crazy off-the-field antics as for his inspiring skills.
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.
Raffaella Fico in her flat in Milan (Pic: SM)
And today, the beautiful 35-21-28 TV star – who with her ­designer five-inch heels likes to compare herself to Victoria Beckham – reveals that the real Balotelli is far removed from his ­untameable ­image.
“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”.
Raffaella Fico (Pic: SM)
But Raffaella claims: “A lot of those stories aren’t true. One said his mother sent him out to buy an ironing board and he came back with a John Lewis lorry full of £20,000 worth of stuff including a trampoline and a Scalextric.
“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.
Raffaella Fico (Pic: SM)
She has since auctioned her ­virginity for €1m on eBay and been named in court documents as one of the beauties who ­regularly attended Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous “bunga bunga” ­parties.
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.
Raffaella Fico (Pic: SM)
Then after three weeks of phone chats he took her to a date to a local funfair.
“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.

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