Italy news

Prandelli issues Balotelli warning

June 9, 2013
By ESPN staff

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has warned Mario Balotelli to "understand he will always be the subject of provocation" after the striker's angry reaction on Twitter to his red card against the Czech Republic on Friday.

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli in action for the Italian national team
GettyImagesBalotelli lashed out after his red card on Friday

Balotelli was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of four minutes as Italy were held and the Milan forward showed his frustration by kicking and punching the walls of the tunnel on his way to the dressing room.

He later turned to Twitter to voice his disapproval at the critics of his performance and attitude.

The tweet translates to: "Write whatever you want, but in the Confederations Cup cheer for another nation. I tell you that from my HEART. (And watch the game again. ALL OF IT.)"

Balotelli quickly retracted his angry comments, tweeting on Saturday: "Good morning. Yesterday my reaction was not the right one, I offer an apology. SORRY... to my team... I need to learn... still."

Prandelli admitted he was pleased Balotelli apologised, but insists he will speak to the 22-year-old about how he reacts to criticism.

"Using Twitter? In the coming days we'll talk about this," Prandelli underlined to ANSA. "Honestly, I liked the second message [of apology] more.

"He must understand he will always be the subject of provocation, like all greats. In learning, he will deal a blow to the ploys of opponents, but otherwise he will always be provoked at their hands."

Prandelli later added: He's one of our important players, but must also carry the attitude of a team player. He is not the same as others in media terms. We have champions like Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, but he gets the most attention.

"Youngsters readily identify with him, disregarding his colour. The fact is they consider him a new Italian symbol who breaks down the barriers of race."