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The former AC Milan defender believes that the Italy striker is struggling with the burden of expectation at San Siro and would be better off at a more stable club

Paolo Maldini has suggested that Mario Balotelli could become a far better player if he played for Juventus instead of AC Milan.

The Italy international joined the Rossoneri last January and helped Massimiliano Allegri's side to a dramatic third-placed finish in Serie A with a superb start to his San Siro career.

However, with Allegri having been sacked and Milan languishing in mid-table, Maldini feels the young striker is beginning to struggle beneath the burden of the team - something he feels he would be spared in Turin.

"Balotelli is still not a champion," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It's the same with [Alexandre Pato]. The day I see him put the team on his shoulders and drag them for 90 minutes then he will be. He's only done it for short periods.

"I don't know, but I get that impression that if he had gone to Juventus, a team with clear ideas and a tough coach and solid group of Italians, he would make the leap."

Maldini also hit out at Milan for letting Andrea Pirlo join their rivals back in the summer of 2011.

"If a coach arrives and says: 'Andrea is finished as a player whom I don't need any more', then someone in the club must reply: 'That's not true, Pirlo's an asset the club must keep'," he added.

"So maybe we would not have done Juventus a favour."

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