Pirlo: Balotelli must 'concentrate on the football'

The veteran midfielder says his 23-year-old teammate needs to "focus on finding his form" as Italy prepares for the World Cup.

Andrea Pirlo says AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli must "concentrate on the football" ahead of the World Cup.

Balotelli was an integral part of Italy's unbeaten qualifying campaign, scoring five goals, and the 23-year-old will be looked upon to help Italy through a tricky World Cup group featuring Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.

Experienced Juventus midfielder Pirlo feels the form of Balotelli could be crucial to Italy's success, but warned that the whole squad will have to be at its best.

"We know it's a difficult group, but I really like the atmosphere in Brazil," he said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Do we depend on Mario Balotelli? Partly yes, but we are all important to the cause. Mario is old enough now, so he doesn’t need advice any more. He just needs to focus on finding his form in the summer, concentrate on the football and leave the rest alone."