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Balotelli needs to learn weapon of team-work: Prandelli
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2012 by YAHOO Sport

Mario Balotelli still needs to learn that team-work can be a weapon, according to his national team coach Cesare Prandelli.

The sulky 21-year-old looks set to start for Italy against Spain in their European Championship Group C opener on Sunday.

But his coach wants the Manchester City striker to understand that good team play can be just as impressive a trait as brilliant individuality.

Yet he denied that Balotelli causes him any more headaches than any other young player, despite his frequent mishaps on and off the field.

"As for managing (Balotelli), it's the same problem as for any 20-year-old who is exuberant and wants to show what he is worth," said Prandelli.

"This week Mario has behaved very well as he always has when he's been with the national team.

"As for progress, he can't just think about how he can be important to the team, he must understand that being generous to the team can be an extra weapon for us."

Balotelli has already picked up four red cards in two years in the Premier League while setting fire to his bathroom after letting off fireworks was perhaps his most notorious prank off the pitch.

But Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes such things are normal for young players.

"There is no advice to give Mario from a football point of view because he's a pure talent and is one of the few players who can win a game on his own," said Buffon.

"As for off the pitch, he's always been well behaved but he's 21 years old and it's only right that in his overall development he makes mistakes, and we can allow him that as mistakes are part of experience."

His City team-mate and opponent here on Sunday David Silva says his team will be more worried about Balotelli's ability than his antics.

"He's a great player, we'll have to be careful. He can score goals so we'll have to watch out as a team.

"His whole team will be behind him so it will be a tough match.

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia