Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli enjoyed a typically understated festive period as he surprised drinkers in Manchester on Christmas Eve with a 1,000 pounds ($1,566) bar tab.
The mercurial forward has been in sparkling form for much of this season, with eight goals in 14 appearances, but has all too often undermined his credentials with a series of off-the-field histrionics.
In the last few months alone the Italian has hit the headlines after racking up huge parking fines, scuffling with City teammate Micah Richards during training and letting off fireworks in his own home, which prompted a call for the fire department.
However, his latest antics will be welcomed rather more warmly by his manager Roberto Mancini, as it was by those who were drinking in the Tudor pub in Peel Hall on Dec. 24.
Balotelli is reported to have donated 1,000 pounds to a bar tab for all the drinkers in the pub but barely made a dent in the funds himself as he stuck to soft drinks all evening.
It is then believed he went to midnight mass at St John’s church in Chorlton, where his manager had been part of the congregation a year earlier.
Balotelli and Manchester City sat atop the Premier League tree on Christmas Day but were frustrated on Monday as they were held to a goalless draw by a battling West Bromwich Albion, which now sees them lead rivals Manchester United on goal difference alone.