The legendary Brazilian has hailed the flamboyant attacker and feels that Italy could spring a surprise at the Confederations Cup.Brazil legend Pele has praised mercurial forward Mario Balotelli and feels the AC Milan star is a "real striker" who causes his opponents problems with his physical approach.
The Italy international made the headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this month when he was booked twice within four minutes in a scoreless World Cup 2014 qualifier against Czech Republic, but Pele nonetheless speaks highly of the former Manchester City attacker.
"I really love Balotelli's style of play. He is a real striker," Pele told reporters. "He uses his physicality to create space for himself and harass opponents."
Balotelli joined Milan from City in the winter transfer window and helped the San Siro giants to third spot in the table with 12 goals in 13 Serie A appearances.
Pele then went on to have his say on Italy's chances at the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup and insisted that the Azzurri are a dangerous side in the competition.
"I like Italy, because they always get the best out of themselves at the big occasions," Pele said.
Cesare Prandelli's men meet Mexico in their first group game on June 16 before also meeting Japan and host Brazil in the opening stage.