By FOX Sports Staff
The volatile striker is certainly not everybody's cup of tea and actually left Italy for Manchester City back in 2010 after a controversial spell with Inter Milan.
At City, he had his good moments - including scoring some important goals to help the club win their first ever Premier League title last season - but his time in England was dogged by bust-ups with manager Roberto Mancini.
Balotelli was sold to AC Milan in January 2013 and his return to Italy has sparked a revival of form for the 22-year-old as he has scored eight goals in eight games for club and country since.
His latest strike was a spectacular effort for Italy in Thursday's 2-2 draw against Brazil.
All this, coupled with Balotelli's key role in leading Italy to the final of Euro 2012 last summer means the former Inter striker is a much more popular figure on the terraces than before.
"Many people like me, but not everybody," Balotelli said on Sunday.
"After Euro 2012 I noted that my popularity increased. Thanks to the Italy squad, now fans of other clubs are starting to like me too. I can see from the way they act around me.
"The Nazionale has something special, something more. I can't explain it, it's above all else."
He added: "I've never had a big head."
"I do not consider myself to be the best in the world, nor the worst. I am me.
"I have been changing for a while, it's just that before you couldn't see the improvements. I've matured, I'm growing. I'm not 17 anymore, with experience you grow."
Balotelli's brace for Italy in their 2-1 win over Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 made him a national hero but he was still targetted for racist abuse from Inter fans in the recent Milan derby last month.
"Racism makes me annoyed, angry and disappointed," Balotelli said.
"Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be enough improvement in this area here. I agree with [team-mate] Kevin-Prince Boateng, to escape from racism we all have to contribute together."
Nevertheless, Balotelli will be looking to add to his recent goal-glut on Tuesday.
"I spoke to my father after the Brazil draw and he told me off because I missed so many goals," he said.
"Now a big game awaits us in Malta and we want to do well because that game will mean a lot for our World Cup qualifying."
Italy face Malta in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.