The Italy international has been largely out-of-favour at the Citizens this term, with the 22-year-old scoring just three goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.
City face Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in a must-win Champions League clash on Wednesday, and Mancini is urging Balotelli to match the Portugal captain’s professionalism and work ethic.
“Mario, outside the pitch, is a fantastic guy. Sometimes he doesn’t understand which is your job, and how his job is important for his life, but I hope for him that he can understand this quickly,” said Mancini.
“Now he is 22 but life can go quickly and I hope he can improve everything because as a player he could be like Cristiano and Messi, if he understands that to be like this you should work hard, your mind should be always on your job, not on the other things that are not important. I am very sorry for him for this.
“He has everything to be one of the best players in the world.”
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