Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is believed to be the mystery man behind a five-figure donation to Manchester Dogs’ Home.
The Italian, who recently joined Premier League rivals Liverpool, is believed to be one of the 142,377 donators as Mancunians raised £1,440,502.79 in the wake of the fire that killed 60 dogs.
Dog lover Balotelli even volunteered at the home in his spell at The Etihad – causing staff to suspect he was the one behind the generous hand-out that was made anonymously.
Jane Smith, a spokeswoman for the Manchester Dogs’ Home, told the Liverpool Echo: “Mario owns a dog but it was in quarantine in Italy so he used to come and walk all the dogs at the Dogs’ Home.
“We can’t yet confirm whether he made a donation but he is known as a big dog lover so it would make sense.”
The 24-year-old has joined fellow famous face Simon Cowell in raising cash in the wake of the fire, with the music mogul pledging £25,000 to aid rebuilding after the Dogs’ Home was badly damaged in the blaze.
After joining in City 2010, Balotelli’s black Labrador Lucky was quarantined for six months so the Premier League footballer helped out at the home.
The dog has since featured prominently on Super Mario’s Twitter page, with the star often posing for snaps with the pooch.
<3 <3<3 pic.twitter.com/Q7dzf8bERg
— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) June 26, 2013
The inseparable pair even made it to the streets of Manchester – with the Italian asking to bring some Luck to City’s Premier League 2011 victory parade.
The mutt even got his own paws on a Twitter page with 1,500 followers hanging on his every bark.
After striking 31 goals in 80 appearances in a colourful three-year spell at The Etihad, Balotelli moved back to Italy with AC Milan before joining Liverpool last month.
He scored his first goal for his new club on Tuesday night with the opening goal in a 2-1 Champions League win over Bulgarian side Ludogorets.
Image courtesy of Liverpool TV via YouTube with thanks