Mario Balotelli unlikely to receive South Africa call-up

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

mario balotelli

Marcello Lippi has indicated that the forthcoming World Cup may be approaching too fast for Mario Balotelli, leaving the youngster little time to force his way into the travelling party to South Africa come early June.

The Inter Milan striker has been a hot topic for all of the Italian newspapers this week after a sensational strike away to Udinese in Serie A last Sunday. The under-21 international helped propel the Nerazzuri to another three points as they remain top of the Italian championship.

Balotelli’s overly zealous nature has already ruffled a few feathers with veteran Italian campaigners like Gianluigi Buffon quick to issue sharp words of warning about his temperament. Nevertheless he is recognised as one of the brightest prospects in Italy.

Marcello Lippi has tipped the 19-year-old to become a key cog in the Azzurri machine in years to come. The World Cup winning coach is renowned as a stubborn man and despite the brimming potential of the young striker, it is unlikely he will receive a call-up to the senior team this summer.

This is despite unerring quality for a player of his age possessing great skill, impressive strength and a strong desire to succeed. But his attitude has caused concerns with a much publicised confrontation with the Inter Milan manager, Jose Mourinho.

However, with the right direction it is believed he will prosper into one of the great Italian fantasisti.

Undoubtedly if he wereEnglish he would already be a pivotal member of the national side, such is our indulgence to take so-called wonder-kids to international tournaments, allowing the hotshots to thrive on the big stage, or fail as the case may be (Alan Ball, Paul Gascoigne, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott).

Lippi has signalled that he wants Balotelli to continue to be an important member of the U21 squad. In addition he wants the striker to gain more experience, playing alongside seasoned internationals at Inter Milan.

He has suggested that such stars will “help him learn the characteristics of sacrifice and much more,” and believes that this will be beneficial for both Inter Milan and the national team.

Thus it appears unlikely Balotelli will manage to force himself into the squad for this summer’s main event. Of course he will remain in contention but will face tough opposition from the likes of Gianpaolo Pazzini, Alberto Gilardinho, Giuseppe Rossi and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Italy’s under-21 side cantered to a 2-0 victory over Hungary last night with Balotelli taking centre stage with an eye-catching performance. Meanwhile the senior team struggled to breakdown African’s Cameroon which will lead to the inevitable cries for Balotelli to receive his first full cap for the Azzurri.

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