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The Azzurri's new star has captured the imagination of his compatriot's child in more ways than one, as the veteran forward tips his international colleague for eventual greatness

Antonio Di Natale has admitted his son had been caught up in Mario Balotelli fever as the Manchester City striker starred at Euro 2012 while playing for Italy.

The 21-year-old scored three goals, including a match-winning pair against Germany, in Poland and Ukraine, as Cesare Prandelli's side went all the way to the final, only to capitulate at the hands of Spain.

Nevertheless, Balotelli remained one of the bright sparks of the Azzurri's tournament, however, and the Udinese captain revealed his son hoped to emulate more than the frontman's goalscoring exploits.

"My son spoke to me over the phone and asked if he could have Balotelli's haircut, something I wouldn't allow to happen," laughed Di Natale to Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Balotelli though has pace, power and an amazing right boot. He needs to play more for his team and work on his movemont up front, and then he could win the Ballon d'Or. He is a potential phenomenon."

Di Natale's accolades are just one of the many following the controversial player's displays at the European finals, while Italy coach Cesare Prandelli praised the maturity the new father has exhibited since arriving in the England.

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