Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday urged Mario Balotelli to “wake up” before he throws his career away.
Balotelli’s ill-fated stint at hometown club Brescia appears to be coming to an end, with reports his contract will be terminated after repeated absences from training.
“I’ve told him a thousand times that he’s wasting a huge talent,” Mancini told Italian television.
“I have loved Mario very much since he was a boy and he has done extraordinary things. He has a crazy physique, speed, technique, and at 30 he is in the middle of his career.
“I hope that one day he will wake up and change.”
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Mancini recalled Balotelli to the Italy squad when he took over as coach in May 2018, having successfully worked with the forward at Manchester City and Inter Milan.
Balotelli, who has 36 caps for Azzurri but only one since 2014, joined Brescia last summer in the hope of winning a place in Mancini’s Euro 2020 squad, but has scored just five times in 19 matches for the club.
He made his debut with local team Lumezzane in Serie C as a 16-year-old, before moving to Serie A giants Inter in 2007, where he won three league titles and the Champions League.
He later had two spells at AC Milan and also played for Liverpool, Nice and Marseille.