Italy tell Balotelli to grow up

The Italian Football Federation has warned Mario Balotelli that he will have to grow up before he is allowed to return to the Italy squad.

The Manchester City striker is alleged to have thrown a dart in the direction of a number of youth-team players at the club’s Carrington training ground. Although no one is reported to have been hurt in the incident the 20-year-old is likely to face disciplinary action.

Balotelli was left out of the Italy squad for Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Slovenia for breaching team manager Cesare Prandelli’s code of conduct.

The former Inter Milan player was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Goran Popov during Manchester City’s Europa League exit at the hands of Dynamo Kyiv and was subsequently dropped from the Italian squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier and tonight’s friendly against Ukraine.

Giancarlo Abete, the president of the Italian Football Federation, spoke about Balotelli’s international future earlier today: ‘Balotelli still has some problems and lacks continuity. He needs to mature and that has to be a personal choice. We hope he grows and that the focus is placed on his technical ability.’

Prandelli also made it clear that the door is still open to the talented striker: ‘He [Balotelli] is a great champion of Italian football and will return to be a part of the national team. He has extraordinary talent but has to be consistent with his performances. If that is the case, he will be taken into consideration.’

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