Former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has criticised current Azzurri forward Mario Balotelli, claiming the AC Milan star’s fame outweighs his contribution on the field.
Cannavaro led his nation to World Cup glory in 2006 but their two subsequent forays in the competition have ended prematurely, winning only one game from six and crashing out at the group stage on both occasions.
After Italy’s elimination this summer, slipping out after a controversial defeat against Uruguay, the former Juventus and Real Madrid star offered a parting shot at Balotelli, who mustered only one goal in three outings in Brazil.
“[He has] more fame than game,” Cannavaro told SporTV.
“He is very famous, but this may be due to the fact that he has played for Inter, Manchester City and now plays for AC Milan, and not because he has done extraordinary things on the field, like Neymar, Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben are doing now in the World Cup.
“In football, the name does not matter, only winning. What is important is what you do on the field. Until now, Balotelli, who has extraordinary potential, has not expressed it.”
Balotelli was credited with playing a leading role in Italy’s push to the final of Euro 2012, most notably thanks to his double against Germany in the semi-finals, but he has scored only 13 times in 33 internationals.