Cesare Prandelli admits “Mario Balotelli is not like the others, but we want him to be a player and not a personality.”
The striker was sent off during last night’s 0-0 World Cup qualifier in the Czech Republic, then apologised after a series of angry tweets aimed at his critics.
“Balotelli is not a player like the others, but he has to realise that we want him to be a player and not a personality. He mustn’t think that he needs to win the game all by himself,” said the Italy Coach.
Prandelli was speaking in Florence at an event called La Repubblica delle idee.
“He needs to be one of the important players, but the attitude must be that of a team player.”
Gigi Buffon said today that Super Mario is targeted for provocation and Prandelli sees some truth in that.
“In media terms, he is not the same as the others. We go round the world with champions like Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, but the one who gets more attention is Balotelli.
“The kids especially go crazy for him. The fact they accepted him and decided he can be the new symbol of Italy, this black guy who wears the Azzurri jersey, means perhaps kids are more advanced than adults when it comes to barriers of race.”
Prandelli’s contract with the Nazionale expires after the 2014 World Cup and he was asked about his plans.
“I would like an experience abroad. I am not thinking about it right now, but every time I spoke to a colleague who worked overseas they have been enthusiastic.
“There’s a different quality of life if you are a Coach, that is for sure. When you lose a game, you don’t have to be afraid that on the way home people are going to throw rocks at you.
“There is far too much pressure in Italy and that is a problem, because if you are happy then you can give your best.”