Saturday March 23 2013
Barzagli: 'Balo the World Cup star'

Andrea Barzagli believes “Mario Balotelli will be the protagonist of the 2014 World Cup” in Brazil after facing off against Neymar.

The Italian international scored a spectacular long-range strike in the 2-2 draw with Brazil on Thursday evening.

“Who between Neymar and Balotelli is more prepared to become a star of the World Cup? In my view, Mario is more ready than the Brazilian,” said teammate Barzagli today.

“Neymar is very strong, but just needs some European experience to become one of the best. Mario is proving right now that he is ready for the big stage and will be a protagonist of the 2014 World Cup.”

It has emerged that Neymar urged Julio Cesar to call his old Inter teammate Balotelli before the game in Geneva to ensure he’d get to swap shirts with the Milan striker.

Neymar praised Balotelli and confessed to the media he was “a big fan” of SuperMario.

Juventus defender Barzagli was also asked about club level and Coach Antonio Conte’s warnings he could go abroad if the insults and controversy continue.

“There is absolutely no doubt that our Coach will remain with us. I’m convinced he will continue writing the history of Juve and I hope to be there with him.”

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