Italy locked horns with Cote d'Ivoire in an international friendly on Tuesday and the Europeans were eventually beaten 1-0 by Les Elephants. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli used the friendly to give Inter starlet Mario Balotelli his first international appearance at senior level and the 19-year-old was very emotional after his Italy debut.
"It was a very emotional moment for me, especially during the national anthem. I can't really explain why, but I wasn't even able to sing along due to the emotions, which was kind of strange for me," said Balotelli to Sky Sport 24.
"Of course, when the game started, I soon put all the emotions behind me. When you play for your country, it's such a huge joy. I find it impossible to compare it to anything else I have ever experienced.
"It's quite normal that things didn't go perfectly on the pitch. We had only trained together two times or so. I was very happy to be there though. I'm not completely satisfied with my own performance. I'd give myself a five for my display. I know that I can do a lot better than I did.
"I don't know whether my presence would have helped at the 2010 World Cup. I was ready and would have loved to play in South Africa. Nevertheless, having Mario Balotelli in your team doesn't win you the World Cup. Maybe we would have one more match, but I wasn't the answer to all the problems."