Mario Balotelli blasted Cesare Prandelli for not being a “real” man, but does “understand” why Antonio Conte dropped him.
The Liverpool striker was a flop at the 2014 World Cup and Prandelli criticised his attitude following their first round elimination.
He has not played for the Azzurri since the tournament in Brazil, as new Coach Conte hasn’t called him up at all.
“I am a face-to-face person.” Balotelli told Talksport.com. “I understand why I am not in the squad. I haven’t been scoring, but other players like [Graziano] Pellè and the other strikers have been. So they deserve to be there, but I love Italy and nobody can ever say anything about my national team.
“I will always love it, but I have to be honest and say I was disappointed at what people were saying and how they were blaming me after the World Cup.
“I think I had two, maybe three chances in all the tournament. Everyone knows I scored against England, but I couldn’t do much else.
“Even Cesare Prandelli has said bad stuff about me. Should he be going and talking to the newspapers about me straight after a game? I did not expect that and I did not reply, because there is no point.
“I think real men, if they have something to say, then they come to you and say it to your face. I am a face-to-face person, a straight person.”
However, Balotelli is starting to acknowledge some of the deficiencies in his game, which is a step forward from infamously telling Sky Sport Italia pundits they “knew nothing about football” a few months ago.
“I need to get in the box more. All the rumours I hear about that – these ones are true. I don’t do it enough, but it is something I am working to try to do more. I have never been a real, out-and-out striker – I have always been someone who goes around the pitch, you know?
“If it was my choice, I would always go with two strikers. It’s the way I like to play, but Brendan [Rodgers] asked me to play as the first striker.
“I understand that when the ball comes from wide on the left or right, I need to be in the box otherwise there might be no-one there at all.”
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