Friday November 15 2013
Benitez: 'Balotelli has matured'

Napoli boss Rafa Benitez praised Italy, Cesare Prandelli and Mario Balotelli ahead of tonight’s friendly with Germany.

The Coach discussed the Azzurri’s progress in his column for English newspaper The Independent, noting this evening’s game is “an excellent fixture for the football enthusiast.”

“One of the reasons Italy are a very good team is because tactically they know how to adapt to a lot of different systems,” wrote Benitez.

“Plenty of Cesare’s team play in Serie A, where they are used to playing teams who have three, four or five at the back and who chase quickly. Systems can change a lot during and between games and you need to have the technical and tactical component to cope. The Italy players have that and it is why I think they could do better in Brazil than some people expect.

“Balotelli may start the game for Cesare in Milan tonight – there is still a little bit of uncertainty about Giuseppe Rossi, who has been playing well for Fiorentina. If he does, you will see a player who has developed since he was at Manchester City, when everyone in England was either talking or writing about him!

“Off the pitch, you don't see as many stories in the press and that’s not because no one wants to know in Italy. He is a bit more mature. On the pitch, he has improved because as a striker in Italy you have to think always about how to attack against, let us say, a line of three or a line of four.

“The time in Manchester will have helped, with the experience it gave him. He can make mistakes like anyone, but he has learnt things.”