Mario Balotelli can make difference for Italy predicts Thiago Motta

 

Italy midfielder Thiago Motta believes Mario Balotelli will be an influential figure for the Azzurri at Euro 2012.

Paris St Germain midfielder Motta knows just what to expect from Balotelli - the pair were Inter Milan team-mates in the 2009/10 season - and reckons the volatile Manchester City striker could have a big role to play in Poland and Ukraine.

"We need Balotelli to work for the team, and to show responsibility," Motta said as Cesare Prandelli's squad continued preparations in Krakow for their opening match of the tournament against defending champions Spain on Sunday.

"Only like that can he make the difference, and I'm sure he will. He must help us, especially on the pitch because, off it, he can be the same as always.

"Balotelli makes me just as angry now with his jokes as he did when he was at Inter. But away from the pitch he is a good lad."

Motta, meanwhile, accepts the Italy squad need to regroup, having endured a difficult time recently.

A match-fixing scandal disrupted their build-up, with Prandelli forced to drop Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito from the squad as he is under investigation.

Moreover, last week's friendly against Luxembourg in Parma was cancelled because of an earthquake in northern Italy.

Last Friday's 3-0 defeat to Russia - Italy's last test ahead of the Euros- was the Azzurri's third straight friendly loss.

"It's normal that after three straight defeats you are worried," Motta said. "But the mentality of the team will be crucial.

"We need to help each other out and be generous. It is important to have the will and the mentality to win. We have quality players that can play in any team in the world. If we are able to play as a group, we can fight against anyone."

Italy went undefeated in the qualifying campaign and conceded just two goals in nine games.

They could hardly face a trickier opener to the competition than a clash with Spain, but Motta is focusing only on Italy rather than getting overawed about playing the world's number one team.

"I don't think Spain are less strong than in the past, even though (Carles) Puyol and (David) Villa are out injured," said Motta, who played seven seasons in the Primera Division with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before moving to Serie A.

"Against Spain what matters is the win. Then, if we play well, that is optional.

"Obviously it would be better to win playing good football. We just have to focus on ourselves."

Italy will also play against Croatia and the Republic of Ireland in Group C.

PA

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003