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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Balotelli: I'm a misunderstood genius

ESPN staff

Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli believes he is a "genius", and like many geniuses that is why he is so misunderstood.

• Balotelli rails against racists

The Italy international has emerged as a cult figure since joining Manchester City from Inter Milan, with his antics both on and off the pitch gaining headlines on a regular basis.

His behaviour has occasionally frustrated City manager Roberto Mancini, however, with a media backlash against his conduct coming whenever his performances on the pitch take a dip.

Balotelli, though, says it is not easy to cope with the talent - both mental and physical - that he has been blessed with.

"I think I am a genius, but not a rebel," Balotelli told France Football. "I have my life, my world, I do what I want, without annoying anyone. I believe I am more intelligent than the average person.

"It is said that geniuses are misunderstood. So perhaps genius is so different that people don't understand.

"The talent God gave me is beautiful and wonderful, but it is difficult because you are always facing other people keen to judge you.

"There are few people with such talent, so there are few able to judge what I am doing."

Despite the often volatile nature of his relationship with Mancini - who at one point in the Premier League title run-in suggested his charge would be sold in the summer - Balotelli insists that his relationship with the coach, who he also worked under at Inter, is one of the main reasons he wants to stay at the league champions for the foreseeable future.

"Personally I would like to stay at City, who I am fond of," he said. "Yes I would like to stay."

He added: "Mancini has known me since I was little. He truly knows me. It's more than a coach-player relationship, it's a deep friendship we have."

Balotelli, who is in Italy's squad for the forthcoming European Championship, has now set his sights on establishing himself as the best player in the world.

"My dream is to become in time the strongest footballer. I know I am strong, but if I go on working I know I can become much stronger," he said.

"The Ballon d'Or is the most important title after the World Cup and European Championship. It is an objective. I think I could be able to win it one day but I still have to work a lot.

"When I decide to score, I score. I know I am strong, but I believe it is not enough yet. I can kick fine, dribble very well, but I still have to improve.

"[Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] are out of this world."

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