NEWS
Monday September 5 2011
Riva defends Balotelli

Italy team manager Gigi Riva has defended Mario Balotelli after his supposed Azzurri misdemeanour on Friday.

Reports are suggesting that Balotelli angered Italy boss Cesare Prandelli during the 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands.

The tactician was said to be unimpressed by the striker's touchline warm-up and the Manchester City player's decision to take his i-Pad with him on the bench.

Riva, however, has today tried to play down the events ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia.

"This Balotelli incident is part of a lot of little things that happen in any side," Riva noted. "There is nothing to worry about.

"He played for five minutes on Friday so he couldn't really do a lot on the field of play," continued the Cagliari legend.

"Mario always gives his all in training, indeed it is often the Coach who has to urge him to stop.

"Prandelli didn't even see the player's warm up because he was watching the game. Let's not create a problem when there isn't one there."

It remains to be seen whether Balotelli will play a part in Tuesday's game in Florence. A win for Italy will see them book their place at Euro 2012.

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