Just when you thought he was entering his 'sensible' phase, Mario Balotelli is up to his old tricks again. At next month's World Cup, the Italy striker will be donning different coloured boots - one pink and one blue.
The madcap scheme is the brainwave of Balotelli's sponsor, PUMA, who today launched new two-coloured versions of their evoPOWER and evoSPEED boots which will be worn by all their leading players including Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus, Radamel Falcao, Gianluigi Buffon, Yaya Toure, Olivier Giroud and Balotelli.
More after the break
If it sounds like a joke to you, you're in good company: Balotelli thought he was having his leg pulled when he found out about the plan.
"I have to be honest, the first time I saw the boots, I thought the guy from PUMA was mad. But when I realised he wasn't, I was already excited.
"The evoPOWER looks cool in these special colours: it is definitely unique. And in the end, it is exactly the reason why I chose to be with PUMA. They dare to be different and everyone knows that I do as well.”
PUMA say that the 'Tricks' boots "represent the unshakeable confidence of those who wear them, and evoke their potential to do the unbelievable". It forms part of their ongoing 'The Nature of Believing' marketing campaign. The right boot will be pink and the left boot blue.
To celebrate the launch, PUMA have released a video starring Fabregas, Reus, Aguero and Balotelli, showing how they prepare for the big game and the role that belief plays in that preparation.
Spain's Fabregas certainly sounds confident. "Like all Spanish players I am so excited to go to the World Cup in Brazil and these boots will make a statement. I’ve played in evoPOWER since January and it is such a good boot. We believe we can go far in the tournament, and I like that these colourful boots will accompany me on our journey.”
Argentinian hotshot Aguero jokes: “I'm always happy to stand out on the pitch. Usually I try to do so by scoring a goal, but why not play safe and wear an unusual pair of football boots? Jokes aside, I love my evoSPEED boots in these crazy colours and I cannot wait to go to Brazil, I really believe this will be a big moment for me.”
Meanwhile, for Germany forward Reus, the main thing is not the colour, but the result. “In the past I have scored goals with both the right and left foot, so who knows whether it is the blue or the pink boot that can help me score in Brazil.
"The main thing for me is that I can help my team have a successful tournament. It will be my first World Cup and I am always so proud to represent my country. We believe in ourselves, and also believe we can bring that famous trophy back to Germany.”
To find out more about the evoPOWER and evoSPEED Tricks boots, go to PUMA FC