Things have not gone great for Mario Balotelli over the last two years. As his off-the-field issues leaked into his on-the-field productivity, Balotelli was axed from the Italy national team for all 2015 and 2016 fixtures and wasn’t named to Antonio Conte’s squad for Euro 2016. One of the Liverpool striker’s countrymen, Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, had some harsh words for Balotelli and wasn’t afraid to attribute poor attitude to his lack of caps for Italy.
In a recent interview per the Associated Press, Bonucci implied that Balotell has been a “prima donna” and needs to fix all of his off-the-field issues himself while making sacrifices if he wants to regain the trust of teammates and coaches alike.
“It’s always all been in Mario’s hands,” Bonucci said. “He needed to be intelligent enough to change and he still hasn’t done so. He would have been a key member of this national team if he had understood that. And if he had understood that we need armored tanks who sacrifice themselves for their teammates rather than prima donnas, he would be one of the best strikers in the world.”
Though widely considered one of Europe’s most talented players by friends and foes alike, Balotelli’s lengthy history of immature off-the-field activities have earned him the ire of many, including managers Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini.
He helped lead Inter Milan to three straight Serie A titles from 2008 to 2010 and won the Premier League with Man City in 2012.
In 2014, Balotelli signed with Liverpool but failed to make an impact, scoring just one Premier League goal in a chaotic season under then-manager Brendan Rodgers.