Italy coach questions his striker after the 21-year-old displayed anger at being left on the bench the Azzurri's game against the Republic of Ireland
Italy striker Mario Balotelli has been told by manager Cesare Prandelli that he must learn to take criticism after his controversial celebration against Republic of Ireland.
The Manchester City star was left out of the crunch match with the Republic of Ireland after two lacklustre performances against Spain and Croatia.
After coming off the bench to score a terrific volley on Monday, he was seen to be shouting at the Italian bench, only for team-mate Leonardo Bonucci to cover his mouth and Prandelli has called for Balotelli to keep his emotions in check.
“He has to accept criticism, being on the bench and for the team to demand more from him. The day he understands that no one wants to hurt him, but rather that everyone is helping him, then we will have, in Italy, a champion,” Prandelli told reporters.
“Why didn’t he celebrate the goal? That has to be something spontaneous. Perhaps he is not able to express the joy he feels inside. He is like that, he has always been like that but that doesn’t mean he is detached from the group.
“I don’t know if Balotelli was upset with me, I will ask him,” Prandelli continued. “But from Bonucci’s gesture you can see the team spirit in the group."
The striker's volley helped put the Italians through as runners-up of Group C and will now face the winners of Group D; either France of England.
Balotelli has been in the media spotlight throughout Euro 2012 after being victim of racial abuse from Croatian fans during their match against Italy.
But the youngster has now made an impact on the competition for the right reasons and Prandelli was pleased with his impact and hopes he can continue his progression.
He added: “When he entered the pitch he did what we asked him to do. In order to take that leap and become a champion, Balotelli has to go through these moments."