He earns £120,000 a week, likes to drink vintage champagne straight from the bottle and once famously put hundreds of pounds on to a church collection plate. But Mario Balotelli’s generosity doesn’t appear to extend to his mother, who works as a cleaner in an office only a few miles from her son’s £3million mansion.
While the Manchester City footballer glides around in his gleaming £120,000 Bentley Continental GT, Rose Barwuah has a more humble mode of transport – the number 11 bus. Five times a week, she catches the bus to start her job as a cleaner at a car lease firm on the outskirts of Cheadle, near Manchester, earning little more than the minimum wage of £6.08 an hour.
Home for her is a council home in Wythenshawe, the area used to film Shameless, the Channel 4 comedy about feckless families living on benefits.
The 46-year-old gave Balotelli up for adoption when he was two, and she and her husband were living in poverty in a tiny flat in Brescia, Italy.
Last Christmas she moved to the Manchester area to be near her notoriously eccentric son, now 21.
A source said: ‘When she came over from Italy with her daughter, Rose, she said she wanted to be close to her son and didn’t want any of the huge wealth or luxury he now enjoys.
‘And it appears she is staying true to her word, living within her limited means and working hard. It is hard work she is doing but she previously worked in a market so she is pretty tough.
‘Mario doesn’t live very far away in Alderley Edge but it is a world away as far as lifestyle.’
He added: ‘His mother keeps a low profile – she doesn’t want Mario to feel pressured by her being in the UK. She just wants to rebuild her relationship with her son as any mother would want.’
Balotelli has visited his mother on several occasions at her small semi-detached home, parking his white Bentley outside.
She and her husband Thomas, who are originally from Ghana, were advised to give him up when he was two because he had a life-threatening intestinal condition made worse by their cramped living quarters.
His mother later claimed the Balotelli family, who adopted Mario, had turned him against his birth relatives and she had to work hard to build a relationship with him.
She recently said: ‘Mario has been over to see me a few times. We don’t see each other all the time as he has his life and I have mine.