Mario Balotelli held a rare Press conference today ahead of Italy’s World Cup qualifier with Malta, covering subjects such as racism, arrogance and his biggest regret.
The striker is a man of few words, but sat down with the media this afternoon at the Coverciano training ground to prepare for Tuesday’s match.
“I’ve never had a big head. I do not consider myself to be the best in the world, nor the worst. I am me and that is enough,” said Super Mario.
“Thanks to the Italy squad and especially the Euros, now fans of other clubs are starting to like me too. I can see from the way they act around me.
“I spoke to my father after the Brazil draw and he told me off because I missed so many goals. Now a big game awaits us in Malta and we want to do well because that game will mean a lot for our World Cup qualifying.
“The Nazionale has something special, something more, and I am happy that the squad is getting younger. I have been changing for a while, it’s just that before you couldn’t see the improvements.”
There has been a lot of talk about potentially bringing Roma captain Francesco Totti out of international retirement for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
“It would be truly an honour to play with Totti, as he is a true phenomenon and champions like him are always welcome. Right now I am focused on this Azzurri experience, then I want to concentrate only on Milan.
“I’m happy to be Stephan El Shaarawy’s friend and teammate, as we’re together almost all the time. I’m glad to have him in my life and will try to help him with anything he’ll need.”
Balotelli has caused controversy many times in his career and was asked if he had any big regrets.
“In my life I would only avoid doing one thing again: I wouldn’t have thrown the Inter jersey to the ground.”
The incident effectively marked the end of his career with the Nerazzurri, as at the final whistle of a Champions League game in 2010 he took off the shirt and threw it down.
Fans, teammates and Coach Jose Mourinho were furious with reports Marco Materazzi had pinned him to the locker room wall afterwards.
When Milan played Inter last month, Balotelli was subjected to some racist abuse from his former fans.
“Racism does make me annoyed, angry and disappointed. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be enough improvement in this area.
“I agree with Prince Boateng’s speech at the UN , as to escape from racism we all have to contribute together.”
Betting on Serie A? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more