PRANDELLI TO CONFRONT BALOTELLI

Cesare Prandelli will ask Mario Balotelli if his outburst against Ireland was directed at him.

Last Updated: 24/06/12 at 19:29 Post Comment

Balotelli: Opened his Euro 2012 account on Monday

Balotelli: Opened his Euro 2012 account on Monday

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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli plans to ask Mario Balotelli if his angry outburst after scoring on Monday was directed at him.

Prandelli did not to start the 21-year-old for the first time at the European Championship in the 2-0 triumph over the Republic of Ireland on Monday.

The temperamental Manchester City forward came off the bench and scored his first goal in the tournament but rather than celebrate, he looked into the direction of the Italian bench and shouted a few words before team-mate Leonardo Bonucci put his hand over the striker's mouth.

"I don't know if Balotelli was upset with me, I will ask him," Prandelli said in Tuesday's press conference. "But from Bonucci's gesture you can see the team spirit in the group.

"Why didn't he (Balotelli) celebrate the goal? That has to be something spontaneous.

"Perhaps he is not able to express the joy he feels inside.

"He is like that, he has always been like that but that doesn't mean he is detached from the group."

Prandelli was pleased with Balotelli's performance but says he is still growing up as a player.

"When he entered the pitch he did what we asked him to do," Prandelli said."In order to take that leap and become a champion, Balotelli has to go through this moments.

"He has to accept criticism, being on the bench and for the team to demand more from him.

"The day he understands that no-one wants to hurt him but rather that everyone is helping him, then we will have in Italy a champion."

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