The veteran is thrilled that the controversial youngster is finally living up to his potential and believes his progression is good for the country and the game as a whole
Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti is delighted at the form of former domestic team-mate Mario Balotelli as the Italy striker prepares to face Spain in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final.
The 21-year-old has drawn praise for his performances when leading the Azzurri’s attack in this summer’s European Championships after scoring three times, including a double in their surprise win semi-final win over Germany.
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And Argentine veteran Zanetti thinks the development of Balotelli is good not only for Italy, but the game as a whole.
"I'm happy for Mario," the 38-year-old told ANSA. "All of us were waiting for him to mature. I believe that it's good for the Nazionale, but also for world football."
And as Italy look ahead to their clash against the reigning world and European champions, Zanetti says Cesare Prandelli’s team can draw inspiration from their good performance in a 1-1 draw against La Roja in their opening game of the tournament.
He added: "They need to play against Spain like they did in the first game [in the group stages], and take risks in order to try win the game,” he said. “It will be a thrilling final."