'I still believe in him' - Prandelli backs Manchester City star Balotelli

The controversial forward is struggling to replicate his performances for Italy at Euro 2012 in a club shirt but the national coach is sure that he will fulfil his potential
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is adamant that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will fulfil his potential and become one of the best players in the world, declaing: "I still believe in him".

The 22-year-old impressed at Euro 2012 as he helped the Azzurri to the final of the competition but has struggled to find his best form this season.

Nevertheless, Prandelli continues to have faith in Balotelli and hopes that the controversial forward, whose manager, Roberto Mancini, declared will be staying despite interest from AC Milan, will invest in himself and let his football do the talking from now on.

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"I have given Mario some personal advice that will stay between the two of us," the Azzurri coach told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"His football situation is quite clear. We still remember his goal against Germany in June but it's almost February now. Who remembers a good recent game from him?

"I still believe in him, though. He has never disappointed with the national team.

"I hope that he decides to invest in himself and attempts to become one of the best in the world. He should let his football do the talking."

Balotelli has netted only one goal in 14 Premier League appearances this season.