Friday June 7 2013
Balotelli sets sights on Riva’s 35

Mario Balotelli has his eye on becoming the top scorer in the history of the Italian national side – although he has doubts whether he can do it.

Cagliari legend Gigi Riva is the Azzurri’s most prolific striker thanks to his 35 goals in just 42 international matches.

Balotelli meanwhile is a 22-year-old forward who has grabbed eight in 20 games for his country so far.

“Riva’s 35 strikes are a lot, especially when you consider how few games you have at your disposal internationally,” he stated.

“I’ll certainly try to overtake that tally, but it will be extremely difficult for me to do so.”

Balotelli will have the chance to add to his tally on Friday when Italy take on the Czech Republic in Prague for a crucial World Cup qualifier.

“I’m in good shape,” added the former Manchester City man.

“Am I a leader? We are all leaders here, everyone needs everyone else in order to play well and win games. The squad is fundamental.”

Balotelli has a reputation as being infallible from the penalty spot, while the Czech’s Petr Cech is handy when it comes to stopping spot-kicks.

“A year and a half ago I scored against Cech without the need of a penalty, so I can score from open play past him…

“Would I let Stephan El Shaarawy take a penalty if he asked me? Seeing as there is Cech, maybe I would let him,” he smiled.

Blog: Balotelli could threaten Riva [November 16, 2011]