Mario Balotelli: I'm taking lessons in professionalism... from Carlos Tevez!
Published 12:22 17/04/12 By Neil McLeman
Mario Balotelli has vowed to improve his behaviour - after taking Carlos Tevez as his role model.
And the Italian forward, who insisted Manchester City can still win the
title, also revealed he has struck up a friendship with David Beckham.
After pledging his loyalty to City and Roberto Mancini, the 21 year old admitted he has had to reassess his attitude after his fourth dismissal of the season.
And he now wants to show the same professional attitude as Tevez, who went AWOL for six months this season.
"I have to improve above all as a player," said the £24m star. "Especially
my behaviour on the field, but also from a tactical point of view.
"My reference point is Tevez. When I arrived here, I used to train for fun.
But from him I am learning to give everything every day. Carlitos is really
Balotelli, speaking in Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport, said he had cleared the air with Mancini, who said he would sell him after his Emirates dismissal.
"Things are fine with him," he continued. "After my last red card he feared I would get a big ban, that is why he spoke so harshly. We have cleared it up, and I know he believes in me. Like he always has.
"I am at City and have no intention of changing shirt.
"I have the fortune to work with Mancini: one of the best coaches in the
world, if not the best.
"Now I am thinking only about winning the title because I'm certain that
United will slip up. Definitely in the match with us and then, who knows?"
Balotelli has also held clear-the-air talks with his national coach Cesare
Prandelli, who dropped him earlier this year for stamping on the head of Spurs' Scott Parker.
"We have spoken," he said. "He repeated to me to pay attention to the code of ethics and I reassured him on not only this.
"Before, I thought only about myself, but after the red card with Arsenal, I understood how important it is to be concerned about your team-mates: I cannot leave them with only 10 players.
"In Euro 2012, bookings can be crucial. I will be a lot more careful - I
know I have to improve also from this point of view.
"For me the national team is the most important team. It comes before the club for which I play. Therefore I really hope to be in Poland."
But Balotelli suggested he had been victimised over his unpunished tackle
on Alex Song against Arsenal.
"The problem is if I don't press, they accuse me of not helping the team,"
he claimed. "I always want to give everything. It is also true, however,
that if others commit fouls, they pass unnoticed."
And the superstar who unveils T-shirts with messages after goals and uses prostitutes repeated his assertion that he is misunderstood.
"I ask to be judged for only what I do on the pitch," Balotelli added. "And
not for all this aggravation towards me.
"I am made like I am. I am a shy, and above all, simple simple. I like to
have fun with my friends and I don't seek to give any trouble to anyone."
He said he had few friends in football.
"I am in touch with Marco Materazzi and sometimes I speak to David Beckham," Balotelli said. "I got to know him during our training camp in Los Angeles and since then we have stayed in touch."
And the Italian said he had been shocked by the weekend death of his former Under 21 team-mate Piermario Morosini.
"I will definitely undergo more checks," Balotelli added. "In England they
do not have the heart tests they do in Italy. Better to take precautions. I
can't wait to get back to play again. To win. Till now in my career, I have
always had the fortune to win at least one title per season.
"With City. And the national team. Why not? But don't ask me to speak in
the next few months. Now I am thinking only about deeds."