Andrea Pirlo urges Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli not to go to China as “he still has time to make it at the very top.”
The forward was one of the hottest properties in European football, but his career has stalled over the past two seasons.
Super Mario spent last season on loan at Milan, but injuries limited his contribution and the Rossoneri opted not to make the move permanent.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that Balotelli is not part of his plans, leading to talk of a lucrative move to China.
“He has played for so many big clubs, it’s easy to forget he’s only 25,” New York City FC’s Pirlo told the Mirror.
“He still has time to make it at the very top. He needs to pick his next club carefully. I have read things about him and China. With all respect to their league, Mario should not be going there yet.
“If he has two or three good seasons at his next club, he will still only be 28 and could join one of the top clubs in Europe.
“I don’t have any advice for him anymore, he knows the qualities that he has. From this point, it’s up to Mario.”
Pirlo played alongside Balotelli for the Italian national team, and reiterates that there is no doubting the striker’s quality.
“He frustrates me, but I do have so much affection for Mario. He is infectious to be around. When I used to see him walk into training for Italy, he would have this big smile on his face - and I would just burst out laughing - and start wondering what is he thinking, what is he up to?
“Mario should not just be a character the media write about for good stories. We shouldn’t forget what a special player he is.
“I have played with some of the best strikers, and I can tell you Mario has all the attributes to be one of the best strikers in the world.
“By now I thought that is where he would be, that is where he should be. He has no more time to waste.”