AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has called on the media to leave Mario Balotelli "in peace", arguing that the enigmatic forward should be judged on what he does on the field.
The Azzurri continues to make headlines for his behaviour on and off the pitch, with the 23-year-old having been involved in a minor car accident just a couple of days after his temperament was again called into question following his substitution in Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Parma.
Allegri admitted after the game at the Tardini that he had taken Balotelli off because he feared the strike would get himself sent off, but the Rossoneri coach is baffled that the press remain so preoccupied with what the player does outside football.
"I judge Balotelli based on what he does on the pitch," the former Cagliari boss told reports on Tuesday. "He didn’t do well on Sunday against Parma and I took him off.
"He’ll be available [against Lazio] and I think he’ll play well. He trained well yesterday and I think he should be left in peace as well.
"There’s far too much discussion of the man’s private life. I think that Balotelli should be judged for what he does on the pitch like all other players are."
However, Allegri also claimed that Balotelli's performances are also assessed by the most ridiculously high standards.
"He arrived at the club in January and has done great things with the team since his arrival," the 46-year-old trainer pointed out. "He got 12 goals in his first 13 games.
"He played well at the start of this season as well. It can happen that a player has a dip in form, but when it happens to Balotelli, it’s blown out of all proportion."