De Rossi - Balotelli no trouble

Italy midfielder says fiery frontman does not disrupt squad harmony

Mario Balotelli: An enigmatic talent, but one Italy are pleased to have within their ranks

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Daniele De Rossi insists Mario Balotelli is not a disruptive influence in the Italy dressing room and is treated no different to anyone else in the squad.

The enigmatic 21-year-old has taken in a colourful career for both club and country, with his exploits often drawing attention for all of the wrong reasons.

There is, however, no questioning Balotelli's ability and he remains a key figure for Manchester City and Italy.

The Azzurri hope he will be tuned in and on top of his game when they face a much-fancied Germany side in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 on Thursday.

Balotelli is expected to be handed a starting berth by coach Cesare Prandelli for that encounter, and De Rossi is confident the fiery frontman will do his talking on the field.

Character

"Mario is not a difficult character at all."

Daniele De Rossi

Quotes of the week

"Mario is not a difficult character at all," said the Roma midfielder.

"We treat him as one of the squad, nothing more, nothing less.

"There is no need for us to have a word with him, that is up to the coach, and we don't need to make any extra effort with him.

"On Sunday I shouted at him at half-time but that has happened thousands of times in my career with players.

"But there are no problems with him and there have never been any.

"He is a very good player."

"How do you try to work out what goes on in the head of a 21-year-old young man?"

Cesare Prandelli

Quotes of the week

Behaviour

Not that Prandelli wants to delve too deeply into Balotelli's psyche. That might prove too complicated.

He said: "How do you try to work out what goes on in the head of a 21-year-old young man?

"In terms of his behaviour, mentality and psychology, he has changed radically with us.

"There are no problems with communication. I'm just curious to see what he is feeling, what sacrifices he is prepared to make to become a great footballer."