The Italian manager has claimed that his forward has the potential to be a footballing superstar, but needs to work hard more consistently in order to fulfill his potential.
The 22-year-old is rarely out of the spotlight, and his work ethic was publicly questioned by his manager recently.
Mancini lamented the unpredictability of his compatriot, but insisted that off the pitch, Balotelli is a “fantastic guy” who has all the tools to become one of the planet’s finest footballers.
"[Balotelli] has everything to be one of the best players in the world," Mancini told reporters. "He could be like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he understands that to be like this you should work hard. He is 22 but life can go quickly. [He needs to] understand that to be like [Ronaldo and Messi] he should work hard, his mind should be always on [his] job, not on the other things that are not important.
"He can score two goals next week but he can also take a red card. It is not easy to work with him every day because if you are a manager, you should manage 22 players. Mario outside the pitch is a fantastic guy. Sometimes he doesn't understand how his job is important for his life but I hope he can understand this quickly."
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