Saturday June 7 2014
‘Don’t overburden Balo!’

Italy defender Ignazio Abate says it would be unfair to place too much of a burden on the shoulders of Mario Balotelli.

The controversial forward is set to lead the line during the Azzurri’s World Cup campaign and his performances will be subjected to heavy scrutiny.

However, his club and international teammate Abate believes one unique trait of Cesare Prandelli’s side is their emphasis on the collective and absence of any true stars.

“We shouldn’t put too much pressure on Mario,” the Milan man said at a Press conference. “We are different from other national teams in that we don’t rely on individuals.

“We are a great group, we have our qualities that we need to use to the best of our abilities.

“We have a great midfield, with great footballers. Mario is definitely a great centre-forward, but to load him up with responsibility wouldn’t be fair.

“He just needs to work day by day and as long as he puts himself at the group’s disposal, he will definitely have a great World Cup.”

Abate then discussed his own involvement in Brazil. He expressed his gratitude to national team boss Prandelli for selecting him in the squad despite his frustrating season for Milan.

“Prandelli knew what I can give, as I have always done for the national team and Milan.

“I wasn’t scared of missing out because I have always been a part of the Azzurri group.

“It’s normal that there is a rivalry to get into the 23 once you are in the 30. Everyone deserved a place.

“The boss had to make some choices and I am happy he chose me.

“I think now we need to think as a group. Individuals are not part of our mentality, we must only have a clear team objective.”