Italy squad

Balotelli asks Prandelli for help

March 21, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has claimed that Manchester City's Mario Balotelli has asked for his help to keep him out of trouble, while the striker's agent has pointed the finger at the English media for creating 'drama'.

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Balotelli, 20, has made headlines since arriving in the Premier League for his behaviour and was sent off in a Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev last week.

The striker was not called up by Prandelli for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia after the Italian FA implemented a code of ethics outlawing unsporting conduct, but the manager admitted he has been impressed by the youngster's attitude.

"I have heard from Balotelli," said Prandelli. "He understands that he made a fool of himself. He said to me: 'I need help. I always ruin everything but I care a lot about the national team'.''

Prandelli maintained that he could call up Balotelli for the friendly against Ukraine on March 29, while the player's agent Mino Raiola played down reports that he has fallen out with City boss Roberto Mancini.

"It's an unfortunate time for Mario," Raiola told Sky Sport 24. "It's not a happy spell, but he'll come out of it stronger than before.

"Nevertheless, there are no problems with his club or with coach Roberto Mancini. A part of the English media, the part I don't respect that much, does everything it can to create drama.

"Prandelli and Mario have spoken, it was a positive conversation and their relationship is an excellent one. The boy is disappointed with his dismissal and the fact that he's not been selected for Italy as a result."