Italian football federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete has hit out at Mario Balotelli’s critics, insisting all footballers must display a level of maturity both on and off the field and not just the striker.
Abete’s remarks come in the wake of comments made by Manchester City’s football administrator Brian Marwood, who insinuated that Balotelli is not a good role model for the club’s young players.
While Marwood did not mention the Italian’s name, it was widely reported his comments were directed towards the 22-year-old.
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“I look at Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott,” he told reporters.
“We have a lot of players who think and behave in the right way. You have to make sure they're the role models.
“I think, and we all know who you're talking about, you'll always get people within the system that will not show those values and behaviours, but in the main I think we have a fantastic group of players."
But Abete has insisted that this is not something that is specific to Balotelli.
When asked about Marwood’s comments, Abete claimed that all players are expected to show their quality and maturity at all times.
"That is something that relates not only to him but to all players. They must have quality also in their behaviour," he told Italian radio station Radio Anch'io Sport.
He also made it clear that Italy manager Cesare Prandelli considers all aspects of a player’s attitude before deciding whether to select them for the national side.
He added: "Prandelli is very keen to consider also these things and I'm sure he will know what to do. This is something we have to live with."