Daniele De Rossi has insisted that Mario Balotelli must learn to live with unpopular managerial decisions now that the Italy forward is growing up and "becoming a man".
The 21-year-old netted the second goal in the 2-0 win over Republic of Ireland in the last Euro 2012 Group C fixture with a brilliantly-executed volley, but celebrated in controversial circumstances by reportedly shouting towards his own coach, Cesare Prandelli, after he was forced to start the game on the bench.
The Roma man insisted that the Manchester City striker must learn to live with the boss’ decisions, while adding that the player is reaching the age where he needs to become more responsible, using a personal incident at the 2006 World Cup to show how he himself has matured.
"He has to accept the coach's decisions,” the midfielder told reporters.
"But he's at the age now where he should start to take responsibility to make sure he's treated like the others.
"At Mario's age, I went to a World Cup [in 2006] and elbowed [Brian McBride] – an incident that made me grow up. He's becoming a man now."
De Rossi has hailed the “outstanding” talent of Balotelli, but urged him to cut out his more petulant moments and let his football do the talking on the pitch.
"Mario can hurt any team. He is an outstanding young player, and that's why he's playing at Manchester City,” he continued.
"There is so much talk of 'scandal' around him because he's so good. But what counts is scoring goals.
"He commits some mistakes out on the pitch but it's his responsibility to cut them out and play a great game. He has the quality to do that.
"We are here to win Euro 2012, so everybody has to take his own responsibility to make sure that happens."
Balotelli could face some of his club team-mates on Sunday when Italy square off against England in the quarter-finals at 20:45CET.