NEWS
Sunday January 13 2013
Prandelli on Balotelli and Cassano

Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli asked Mario Balotelli not to be “a superhero,” told Antonio Cassano to wait and Serie A to have faith in Juventus and Zdenek Zeman.

The tactician sat down with RaiUno programme ‘5 di recupero’ this evening for an overview on the calcio scene.

“Balotelli has always behaved very well with us on international duty. He must always focus on proving his value on the field, without being a ‘superhero’ or Mario the ‘character’ off it, and we tacticians have to find the best way to get that talent out of him.”

Before the Manchester City ‘bad boy,’ Prandelli had to deal with Cassano, who has now been somewhat frozen out of the Azzurri squad.

“Lately I have not called Cassano and I compared him to Antonio Di Natale in the two years before the European Championship. I know what these two players can do, but right now we need to qualify for the World Cup and also help youngsters to develop.

“If I had played Cassano in the last few games, then Stephan El Shaarawy probably wouldn’t have found space.

“It is important for Italian football that youngsters like El Shaarawy are playing consistently. We must continue along this path and look to the future with optimism.”

Prandelli cast his eye over Serie A, where Juve have seen their lead cut to just three points and question marks remain over Zeman’s handling of Roma.

“Juventus remain the favourites, as they are consistent in terms of results and performances. Many teams will be a danger to them, but for me the Bianconeri remain the most complete squad in Serie A.

“Lazio are not to be considered a surprise. Vladimir Petkovic is well-prepared and they are doing very well with him.

“Roma are a side who really were created this year with Zeman’s ideas. I would give him more time, as I think it is a good project and needs to be continued.

“Vincenzo Montella has brought quality, character and the right mentality to a brand new Fiorentina side. The Viola fans have rediscovered their enthusiasm.”

Prandelli praised Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off the field due to racist chanting in Milan’s friendly with Pro Patria.

“The time has come for us all to come together with courage and decisive action to say enough is enough.”

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