The Uefa president has described the Manchester City striker as a "very strong player" and praised Italy for their positive football throughout the European ChampionshipMichel Platini has admitted that he has been impressed by Mario Balotelli's performances so far at Euro 2012.
The Uefa president, born to Italian parents, watched the 21-year-old score a first-half brace live in Warsaw's Stadion Narodowy against Germany in the semi-final, as the Manchester City striker sent Italy into the Euro 2012 final to take on Spain.
"I saw him play live for the first time [against Germany] and he is a very strong player," Platini said at a press conference.
"He is able to play well with his back to the goal, as he showed in the first matches of the tournament. Then, against Ireland, he came in [as a substitute] and scored, and he scored again against Germany."
Platini added he was "pleasantly surprised by the beautiful game delivered by Italy", while he believes that Spain have become predictable as opponents have grown more familiar with their style.
Asked whether he would be cheering for a particular team in Sunday's final, Platini remained diplomatic: "Let the best team win."
The match in Kiev kicks off at 20:45CET.