The former Italy defender believes the striker will not realise his full potential until he undergoes a period of personal growth, while targeting a reunion with Jose Mourinho
By Rahul Bali
Mario Balotelli is still missing the maturity needed to realise his full potential, former Italy and Inter defender Marco Materazzi has told Goal.
The 40-year-old played alongside the AC Milan man - who has scored 14 goals in 30 appearances this term - during his time at Inter.
However, Balotelli's time at the club came to a sour end as he moved on to Manchester City in 2010, where he spent three years before returning to San Siro in Rossoneri colours.
Materazzi has watched on with interest at Balotelli's colourful career to date and can still recall the strength of his personality as a teenager at Inter.
He said: "He has a very strong personality and there is no doubt about that. He had it when he was 17.
"What he is missing now is some more maturity so he can also realise how strong he is. In a strong team like Italy, he can be terrific and he already proved that in the European Championships.”
Materazzi, 40, retired from the game in 2011, 12 months after lifting the treble with Inter under Jose Mourinho, and he revealed how he would love to work with his former boss again in a coaching capacity.
“I've played under many good coaches of course but the one more than anybody else is Mourinho," he added. "He's also the one with whom I had the best relationship even though Mourinho was also the manager that walked me towards the end of my career.
“Because he's a very true person, we established a relationship based on truth and transparency. We were very clear with each other and became friends. We had a great relationship based on mutual respect.
"Me and Mourinho should work together again. If someday this will happen, I will be more than honoured to be on his side. This of course doesn't change my relationship with Jose even if I never work with him.