The AC Milan right-back believes the experienced Brazilian is an example to the younger players at the club, and has urged his controversial team-mate to grow upAC Milan defender Ignazio Abate thinks Mario Balotelli can learn how to become a model professional from Kaka.
The former Manchester City striker has been battling a thigh injury, but the right-back believes he is not taking the necessary steps to return as quickly as possible.
Kaka has also spent the last month nursing an injury, only returning to action over the past week, and Abate feels Balotelli can learn a thing or two from the former Real Madrid midfielder’s strict training regimen.
“[Kaka] is a shining example for all, especially for the younger ones,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “When he was injured, he came in the morning and left in the evening.
“For someone who has earned as much as he has and already won all he can in his career, he could afford to give the bare minimum, and instead he behaves like a top player.
“He gives everything to return to what he once was. [Balotelli] must understand that he is no longer a kid and that certain behaviours are not going to go over well. He needs to grow up as quickly as possible.”
However, Abate, 26, is confident the future is still bright for Balotelli and says the striker has all the skills and resources at his disposal to be one of the best players in the world if he can fix his attitude.
He added: “The fact is that he has incredible potential, of which even he realises. To me, after [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, he’s next. We are fortunate enough to work for a club like Milan and in a place like Milanello.
“It is wrong to think of coming here just to punch the clock, and then go home. We should devote ourselves to our work.”