'Overweight' Balo slated after Italy draw
Posted: 10 September 2018 Time: 15:00
Italy striker Mario Balotelli has been slated once again after an uninspiring display in their draw against Poland.
Balotelli, 28, holds an impressive record of 14 goals in 36 caps for the national team but his 30-minute cameo in the 1-1 draw to Poland this weekend drew unwanted attention.
After a tumultuous pre-season with OGC Nice where the eccentric striker went AWOL before the resumption of training, the Azzurri star appeared a bit bulky as Roberto Mancini introduced him from the bench.
Former Italy manager Arrigo Sachi described him as a striker 'who lacks intelligence' for a role in the side but former Juventus and Roma star Zibi Boniek didn't hold back in his assessment.
"I wouldn't send on a player who's 15kg overweight," the Polish FA chief told Radio Rai. "I talked to Sacchi immediately after the match and we highlighted the fact that the player wasn’t prepared for the game.
"What matters in football is the intelligence towards the rest of the team and the pitch. I’m sorry for Balotelli because I remember him being devastating in a Juventus-Inter match.
"I didn't see him prepared to make certain efforts at certain levels. It’s his fault because a professional can’t present himself in these conditions.
"To say that Balotelli worked for the team is an outright lie. No-one said he was unfit. I don't understand why that wasn’t noted.
"To be a great player, you have to always be fit. Balotelli is useless in this condition."