Giampaolo Pazzini is set to start against Napoli tomorrow night in place of Mario Balotelli, but insists he’d “like to play alongside him” for Milan and Italy.
The striker has barely featured since suffering a micro-fracture to his fibula a month ago and Balotelli’s three-match ban gives him the opportunity to make his mark.
“I’d like to play alongside Balotelli and it’s a shame that so far we haven’t really crossed paths at all,” Pazzo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I would enjoy that experiment and see what we can do together. We cannot be incompatible, because he is a modern striker who moves around and opens up defences. He also works for his teammates.
“Mario’s greatest asset on the field is his physical strength, while in personal terms he is very relaxed and very playful. At times he’s even naive.
“Stephan El Shaarawy is only 20 and he simply needs to grow up. When you start scoring goals and discover what it feels like, it becomes like an addition – like a drug. You need it all the time. Growing up, you learn to deal with these situations.”
It would be particularly fitting for Pazzini to take on Napoli tomorrow evening, as he was close to joining them.
“It’s true there was something, but we never managed to get on the same track. I always had a good rapport with Walter Mazzarri and I liked the way he made us play at Sampdoria.
“Milan have to be in the Champions League, always. If we lose against Napoli, then second place becomes practically impossible. Quite simply, we have to win and we will be ready.
“Unfortunately the 2-2 draw with Fiorentina has left some damage to our self-esteem, as we should’ve taken that win home. At least it was a lesson for us, as even when 2-0 up against 10 men, it’s still not over.
“Do Inter regret selling me? That is no longer my problem.”