Italy shirt greater than Barca’s or Real’s: BalotelliSports Desk
Mario Balotelli stated that his exclusion from the Italy squad for the friendly against the USA last week was unfair, and made clear that he values the Azzurri shirt above those of Barcelona and Real Madrid, reports Goal.com.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli left the 21-year-old out of the group for the match, which the Stars and Stripes won 1-0, over concerns about the Manchester City striker’s mental approach, following his stamp on Tottenham’s Scott Parker in January.
The former Inter ace has been sent off three times since arriving at Eastlands in 2010, and the Azzurri coach revealed that he is considering leaving the temperamental striker out of his Euro 2012 squad.
‘I felt so bad about it,’ Balotelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport. ‘I often say in the dressing room: Barcelona? Real? For me, there is no shirt more fascinating than that of Italy, because of the feeling which comes with representing the national team.
‘I often think about the European Championship. I was sad to have lost the friendly in Genoa.
‘There is an ethics code which I respect, but I think I did not deserve this.’
The 21-year-old stressed that he never meant to harm Parker and explained that the fact that Manchester City did not appeal against his four-game ban does not mean that the club do not back up his story.
‘If you watch it in slow motion, it appears that I hit him on purpose, but that is not the case,’ Balotelli added.
‘Perhaps I did not even touch him. No one protested. I do not kick people who are on the ground.
‘The referee said he did not see it, but he was just a metre away and he saw everything.
‘If City had appealed, I would have played the match against Liverpool, but then I would be banned for five matches, had we lost the appeal.
‘That is why City did not appeal, not because [coach Roberto] Mancini does not believe in me.’
AC Milan and Napoli are favourites in their respective Champions League ties against Arsenal and Chelsea, respectively, but Balotelli dismissed the notion that Serie A is becoming more competitive than the English Premier League.
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