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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

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Balotelli urged to be more consistent

Italian Football Association (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete says Mario Balotelli needs to be more consistent if he is to play a leading role at the World Cup this summer.

On Wednesday, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli warned that Balotelli cannot be certain of a place in his squad for Brazil.

Abete, though, had encouraging words for the AC Milan striker, whose off-field behaviour has often overshadowed his performances on the pitch -- but that is no longer the case, according to the FIGC president.

"I don't think his behaviour is a problem at the moment," Abete said at an awards ceremony in Milan. "Certainly a person like Balotelli, who is often capable of potentially making the difference, has got to be asked to do that more often. He just needs to be more consistent."

Balotelli's lack of consistency this season may also be put down to injuries and suspensions. The 23-year-old risks missing this weekend's clash with Parma due to a muscular injury while he was absent for three matches with a shoulder injury recently and has been banned for a total of five matches.

A calf strain sidelined him earlier in the season, yet he has still been decisive on several occasions for Milan with 10 goals in 19 league games, including winning strikes against Verona, Cagliari and Bologna since Clarence Seedorf took charge.

While backing Balotelli, Abete has also supported Prandelli's warning that only captain Gianluigi Buffon is guaranteed a place in his squad.

"He's motivating everybody," Abete said. "There are only a few months to go and everybody's got to do their utmost to get there in the right condition, spirit and with the right concentration."

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