Cesc Fabregas admits Spain will need to pay special attention to Mario Balotelli when they face Italy in the final of Euro 2012.
The enigmatic Manchester City striker was at his brilliant best on Thursday as the Azzurri saw off a much-fancied Germany side in the semi-finals.
Balotelli bagged a brace as Italy claimed a 2-1 victory in Warsaw, and they are now brimming with confidence in their quest to secure continental bragging rights.
Fabregas concedes that a frontman setting his sights on the Golden Boot will need to be closely monitored if Spain are to prove successful in their efforts to defend their European Championship crown.
"Balotelli is a great player," said the Barcelona midfielder.
"He showed that yesterday by scoring two superb goals in a semi-final against a very strong team like Germany.
"He'll be a threat, just like (Antonio) Cassano and the other strikers."
While Balotelli will need to be watched, Fabregas believes it would be foolish for Spain to focus all of their attention on one player, with Italy's squad brimming with potential match-winners at both ends of the field.
"They have a very competitive team," he added.
"They are very experienced at the back and up front, and they have players who had excellent seasons for teams like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
"Italy's defenders are very experienced, and they know when to attack and when to defend.
"On top of that they have a goalkeeper (Gianluigi Buffon) who's a natural leader, but Spain have a great goalkeeper as well in Iker Casillas.
"They also have a lot of variety up front. They have strong players like Balotelli, tricky players like Cassano, and in midfield they have special players like (Claudio) Marchisio and (Andrea) Pirlo, who's had a great tournament.
"It will be a tough game and the winners will be deserving champions. I think we've been the two most consistent teams at the tournament."
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