17 October 2014 02:17
Mario Balotelli slammed former coach Cesare Prandelli, who was critical of the Italy striker following the World Cup.
The 57-year-old – now in charge of Turkish giants Galatasaray – was outspoken following his resignation, claiming the Liverpool frontman ‘lives in a dimension that is far away from reality’.
Balotelli, who has not featured for Antonio Conte’s Italy since scoring once at the World Cup, did not hold back in his assessment of Prandelli’s comments in an interview with UK radio station TalkSport.
The 24-year-old also understands the reasoning behind Conte overlooking him for the national team, having not scored a Premier League goal since swapping Milan for Liverpool during the transfer window in September.
“I understand why I am not in the squad,” he said. “I haven’t been scoring, but other players like [Graziano] Pelle 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 [Italy’s coach in Brazil] 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.”
Balotelli was far more upbeat in his praise for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who brought the Italian to Anfield.
“He is very good, a strong character,” said Balotelli. “And I think that comes out in the way the team plays.
“I think he can help me improve as a player. He is very open, everybody can talk to him – but first he looks at the person, and second he looks at the footballer.
“With Brendan, you need to be a good person – you don’t have to be, how do you say it, a d*******.”