Just days after being forced to flee his burning home after some late-night pyrotechnics that went wrong, Mario Balotelli has emerged as the unlikely face of a firework safety campaign.
The 21-year-old Manchester City star, who scored twice in the 6-1 demolition of Manchester United on Sunday, has denied being responsible for setting off the fireworks which triggered Saturday's blaze.
But he has readily agreed to front a safety campaign warning children of the dangers of fireworks ahead of the annual British festival of Guy Fawkes night on November 5.
"The newspapers got the story wrong about me and the fire at my house," Balotelli was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying on Tuesday.
"I didn't set any fireworks off, it was a friend of mine. I didn't know anything about it until I heard the shouting coming from the bathroom.
"Luckily, nobody was injured, and my friend apologised to me for the damage to my house. It was a really stupid thing for him to do, someone could have been really hurt, and I was really, really angry with him about it.
"It is important message that children should not mess with fireworks. They can be very dangerous if they are not used in the right way. People should follow the firework code."