The Manchester City striker could have one of the most impressive medal hauls in football for a player under the age of 22, if he helps the Azzurri to the Euro 2012 title on SundayMario Balotelli will break an invidual record if, aged 21, he wins Euro 2012 with Italy on Sunday.
The Manchester City and Azzurri striker, born in August 1990, already has three Serie A titles, a Premier League title, a Champions League, a Uefa Super Cup and two national cups to his name. Were he to add the 2012 European Championships to that tally on Sunday, he would join the football greats as far as early achievements are concerned.
Pele, Messi and the Brazilian Ronaldo are joint leaders of this hall of fame with nine trophies to their name aged 21. If Balotelli wins Euro 2012 he will join three of the greatest ever football players, including his personal icon Ronaldo, among the most successful under-22 footballers to play the game.
Though Pele never played in Europe, his achievements aged 22 already included two World Cups, won in 1958 and 1962, while Ronaldo had several national titles in Brazil, Holland and Spain to his name. Messi had two Champions Leagues (won in 2006 and 2009) and three national titles in Spain upon turning 23.
Many all-time greats were yet to win a trophy aged 21, including Zinedine Zidane and Roberto Baggio, while Diego Maradona had only won a Metropolitano championship trophy in Argentina before moving to Barcelona and experiencing his first successes on European soil.