Mario Balotelli has stated that he is ready to lead the Italian attack, that he’s not crazy and that he has no intention of leaving Manchester City.
Speaking from Italy’s training camp at Coverciano on Wednesday, the controversial striker covered a variety of subjects when questioned by the media.
Balotelli is now expected to be thrust into the first team plans of Cesare Prandelli ahead of Euro 2012 following the loss of Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi.
Cassano is recovering from minor heart surgery, while the Villarreal forward is set to be out for six months after damaging knee ligaments.
“I always feel ready to play, perhaps it is the people who don’t think I am,” the former Under-21 international stated.
“The Coach is expecting a lot from me, but he expects the same from Rossi and Cassano. It all depends on me.
“Cassano is one of the greats and he’s showing that he’s one of the best. I’ve also played well with Rossi. Us three could go down in history because we are strong.
“The national side represents my country, us Italians and it’s the most beautiful thing in football.
“I feel no pressure,” he added. “It’s only a football match. There is no pressure. I haven’t scored for Italy yet? I need to wake up…”
Balotelli regularly finds himself in the news, but not necessarily for his actions on the field of play for club or country.
“In Italy and in England there is the tendency to write more about my private life than what I do on the pitch,” he added.
“There are some newspapers that suck. They speak when they shouldn’t, they say things that are not true. It’s worse in England than it is here.
“People say that I’m mad, but I just enjoy myself. I’m not crazy.”
Balotelli joined Manchester City in the summer of 2010 from Inter and he maintains that he has no plans of an imminent return to the peninsula.
“I don’t miss Serie A at all. Zero. I’m very happy to be in England,” he insisted. “The Italian championship has dropped. The Premier is nice and I play for the best team in England. I want to stay there.
“The Premier League has taught me to run a lot more, to chase every ball that I lose and to press opponents. I now play more regularly and this gives me more confidence.”
But when pushed on a possible transfer back to the Italian top flight, Balotelli added fuel to the fire which suggests that he will one day play for Milan.
“Where would I go if I went back? To Lombardy,” he smiled.
“I like Milan, they are a great club. They have had many champions play for them in the past and they still do. Players whom I would like to play with.
“I could return to Inter one day if certain things were in place. It would take an Inter side who were targeting the top, calm fans and people who don’t want to smash my car in the city centre.
“For now though I’m not thinking about leaving England.”
Italy face Poland on Friday, before hosting Uruguay in Rome next Tuesday.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.