“Super Mario” eyes World Cup success with Italy.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has revealed that he arrived in England as a boy, but returned to Italy as a man after his spell with Manchester City.
The 23-year-old was speaking to Sports Illustrated in an exclusive interview, and revealed his belief that the experience in England helped him grow up.
Having now returned to Italy with Milan, Balotelli is now the focal point of projects for both club and country, and will hope to continue his development into one of the best players in the world.
“I went there as a boy, and I came back to Italy as a man,” he said.
He also revealed that winning the World Cup with the Azzurri is more an objective than a dream, and that is “working on” becoming the best player in the world.
The Italian international will be a vital part of Milan’s ambitions of securing silverware in the future, and having already established himself as a firm favourite with the supporters, he will hope to form a formidable partnership with Stephan El Shaarawy and bring success to the club this season.
However, he has had to deal with his fair share of racism since returning to his homeland, and says that if he is the subject of abuse again this season, he will answer them with goals.
“I hope they won’t say anything. And if they do? I’ll try to score with all my power, and when I score, then I’ll say something.”
“I don’t like to talk much, even when people speak bad about me,” he says.
“Inside me, I say, Why do they have to think of me that way? But I know how I am. My objective is not that people follow me, but I’m happy that they do. It surprises me how much children like me, you know? If they look at me as an example, I have a big responsibility.”
Balotelli has become one of the most famous individuals in world football over the past few years, but interviews such as this show him in a different light to that portrayed by the media at times.
It would appear that he has matured a great deal and is set to continue to deliver on his talent, and that will be welcomed by both Massimiliano Allegri and Cesare Prandelli in the years to come.