Capello: Balotelli may never 'mature'
Former England manager Fabio Capello warned that Italy striker Mario Balotelli may never ‘mature’ from his wild antics.
Balotelli will serve the third and final game of suspension for intimidating a referee when AC Milan travel to Turin to face Serie A champion Juventus.
Balotelli is expected to lead the line for Italy in next year’s World Cup, but despite admitting he thought the Azzurri could blossom in Brazil, Capello was unsure the former Manchester City player would not court controversy
"Italy are an interesting team - they could be a wild card at World Cup 2014," Capello, the current Russia coach, told Metronews.it.
"[But] I do not know if Balotelli will ever mature. I hope so."
However, Capello believes his home nation will have some tough competition when the World Cup returns to South America.
"Brazil will be playing at home and the fans proved to have been a great help during the Confederations Cup," he said.
"Argentina are getting stronger. Germany are still one of the best teams and, of course, you cannot forget Spain. But there's always a surprise."
And despite leading Group F in European qualifying with only two matches left against minnows Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, Capello is refusing to guarantee Russia a spot at the next year’s showpiece event.
"I wouldn’t call matches against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan straightforward," Capello added. "You have to have respect for your opponents.
"We’re very prepared. We have two chances of reaching the World Cup. It would be foolish to waste them."