Mario Balotelli has assured Cesare Prandelli he’ll keep himself “under control” at Euro 2012 and is committed to Manchester City despite a new approach to the tabloids.
The striker has become more famous for his red cards, scuffles and off the field antics than goals, earning him a warning ahead of the Euros.
“I’ve dreamed of playing at the Euros since I was a child,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.
“Wearing the Italy jersey has always been my dream and now it has become reality. Now the Euros are coming up, which are the biggest competition along with the World Cup. I’m so fired up I can’t wait to get started.
“I will give my all to do well. The whole team and I want the Nazionale to play a great Euros so we can give some satisfaction to the Italian people.
“Don’t worry, there will be no problems at the Euros. I will keep myself under control. Prandelli and Roberto Mancini are the greatest Coaches I’ve worked with in my career, as they are also great people. I must thank them so much.”
Balotelli can also learn from the former ‘bad boy’ of Italian football, Antonio Cassano.
“Before being teammates on the field, we are friends off of it. I mean we are really, really good friends. We often talk and joke around. Antonio is a lovely lad,” continued Super Mario.
“When he was released from hospital after the heart surgery, I went to visit him at home. I said: ‘If you don’t go to the Euros, then neither will I.’
“He replied that it was ‘unlikely’ he’d made it, but I had no doubts, because I know what he’s like. I wasn’t wrong.
“Spain are the strongest side in the world, but nobody is unbeatable. Italy will be the revelations of the tournament.”
Balo was also asked about the repeated transfer links with a return to Serie A, above all his favourite team Milan, after netting 13 goals in 23 games.
“I do miss Italy, but playing in the Premier League is great fun. I really think I will stay at City. On a personal level, I could’ve done better this season. I can and must always do better.
“You know me by now, I always want to improve. The important thing is that City won. I hope to lift more trophies next year, hopefully even the Champions League...
“If I could wipe out one moment from my campaign, it’d be the double booking against Arsenal. I was too eager to make an impact and in a bid to press the opponents I went in too hard. They weren’t nasty fouls, but were punished with the yellow card. I have to be better at keeping myself under control. I must give my all without making certain mistakes.
“Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best in the world. I need to be more consistent. That also means being on the pitch more consistently, because this year I missed far too many games. In that sense, it’s necessary for me to improve too.”
There is one thing Balotelli cannot stand about living in England, as he continues his running battle with the tabloid newspapers.
The latest headline splash involved his messy break-up with girlfriend Raffaella Fico.
“We split up at the start of April. I have no idea why she continues to say certain things to the papers and not to me.
“The tabloids are not really newspapers. They follow me night and day, while often there is someone who just camps out in front of my house, writing what time I go in and out.
“I have started collecting press cuttings to make an album... Out of 100 things that are written about me, at most five are true.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!