Cesare Prandelli has warned AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli that he has to sort himself out mentally in order to realize his full potential. In an interview with FIFA.com, the Italy coach spoke about working with Balotelli, as well as former World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon. “Mario Balotelli has the potential to be one of the greats,” Prandelli told the world governing body’s Web site. “However, he needs to find a seriousness and a balance so that he can realize his potential. In recent years he has wasted lots of energy on trivial things. The great champions don’t do that. For them the only thing that matters is winning."
The former Fiorentina coach went on to say that veterans Buffon and Pirlo both lead by example in different ways: “It’s not difficult to talk about Gigi. He’s the captain and an example to us all. He can both motivate the team and calm players down when they’re on edge, and he makes sure everyone appreciates just what it means to wear the Italian shirt. Pirlo’s also a great champion -- just full of pure class and intelligence. He’s a player who makes things happen all over the field, and even though he doesn’t say much, he’s very charismatic. He’s a quiet leader. Veterans like Buffon and Pirlo have already won it all. They know how to lead a team to victory.”