Balotelli: I'm second best player in the world
Published 23:00 21/12/10 By Neil McLeman
Mario Balotelli has claimed Lionel Messi is the only player better than him in the world.
And the Manchester City star has insisted his side can still win the Premier League and Europa League double this season.
The £24million Italian was awarded the Golden Boy Award for the best Under-21 player in Europe before the Eastlands defeat to Everton.
The outspoken striker has scored only two Premier League goals since his summer switch from Inter Milan - and only five overall.
But after helping his former club to the Treble last season, Super Mario insisted he deserved the award - and then set his sights on beating Messi to the full Player of the Year in the future.
“I want to be the best player in the world,” said the 20-year-old. “It is good to have ambition. I’ve said in the past that I don’t care what other people want or expect of me because I know what I want.
“I will always give everything because I want to become the best. That is my aim and I am determined to make it happen.
“I am really happy to have won the Golden Boy 2010, but who else should have won it if not me? Two years ago I finished sixth and in 2009 in fourth. Now it is my turn.
"Now my objective is to win the Ballon D’Or without age limits. To win the Golden Boy is a good omen to win the main prize. I am now a candidate for that. There is only one player who is a little stronger than me - Messi. All the others are behind me.”
Balotelli won the Golden Boy, awarded by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, ahead of Jack Wilshere - but then admitted he's never heard of the Arsenal midfielder.
“What is his name? Wil...? No, I don’t know him but the next time I play Arsenal, I will watch out for him,” he said. “Maybe I will show him the Golden Boy and remind him I have won it!”
Balotelli, who hit the post against Everton before limping off, has set twin team targets for 2011.
“I want only two things,” he continued. “The Premier League - to continue the Inter tradition that has seen me win the last three Serie A titles - and the Europa League, a trophy that I have never won and where I really see us as the favourites.”
Balotelli has never hidden his support for Milan and his former Inter team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now with the rossoneri, has repeatedly urged him to return to the San Siro.
The Manchester City striker said: “I know, I know and now I say to Ibra to continue to call me to Milan and one day I will be able to wear the red and black shirt.”
But Balotelli admitted he was devastated his 60-year-old mother Silvia had been unable to travel to Eastlands on Monday because of the winter weather.
“She should have left Linate (Milan) in the morning but her flight was cancelled because they told her Manchester airport was closed,” he explained. “I am so sorry - it really upset me.”