Friday December 13 2013
Balotelli’s World Cup target

Milan and Italy striker Mario Balotelli is hoping to silence his critics at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, the 23-year-old said he would look to make the most of his opportunity in front of a global audience.

“Brazil is a perfect time for me to establish myself as number one striker in the world,” the 23-year-old commented.

“The World Cup is where I want to make my mark. The best players always perform on the biggest stages.”

Having not been seeded, the Azzurri have been placed in a tough group which includes Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.

Balotelli knows England and some of their players well given his stint in the country with Manchester City.

“All I will say is that I believe we are a stronger team than England and historically we always perform better than them at the major competitions.

“Joe Hart? There's no question for me that Joe should be number one for England in Brazil,” Balotelli said of his former city colleague.

“He's the best English goalkeeper and the best in the Premier League. The best players in the world can make mistakes, but the class of a player like Joe will always come through.”

The former Inter forward has scored 12 goals in 29 appearances for his country so far.