Aug 4, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli (45) slips by Chelsea defenders during the first half at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

World Cup 2014: Italian coach urges Mario Balotelli to seize opportunity

Italy landed in one of the toughest groups, arguably the toughest, with England, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Advancing out of the group will be no easy task and they’ll need the best out of their roster.

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is hoping striker Mario Balotelli realizes the stage the World Cup provides and that he brings his goal scoring prowess to Brazil for the Azzurri.

“Balotelli is an important player for the national team, like a lot of others. But he must come to the World Cup fully prepared,” said Prandelli, via Sky Sports.

“He would do well to listen to his AC Milan manager Clarence Seedorf and channel the emotions he is feeling into something positive on the pitch.

“He knows the World Cup can be the opportunity of a lifetime for a footballer.”

Balotelli didn’t make his international debut until a month after the 2010 World Cup and made his presence on the international stage felt in the Euros 2012 with three goals, most notably that goal against Germany that saw Balotelli take his shirt off and strike a pose while flexing.

A celebration that was so iconic FIFA featured in and Cristiano Ronaldo replicated it after a late goal in the Champions League Final against Atletico Madrid just last month.

Balotelli made the switch to AC Milan from Manchester City last summer and impressed on his return to Serie A as he found the net 14 times.

It is a borderline brilliant move on Prandelli’s part to appeal to Balotelli’s self-serving side. By reminding Balotelli of the positive things that can come out of a strong showing in the World Cup on an individual basis might motivate Balotelli more than he already his, and while Balotelli would benefit from a goal scoring surge, so would Prandelli and Italy.

Tags: 2014 World Cup Italy

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