Michel Platini says he has been impressed by Mario Balotelli’s performances so far at Euro 2012.
The UEFA president, a former France international born to Italian parents, watched Balotelli score a first-half brace against Germany in the semi-final on Thursday.
The Manchester City striker’s contribution helped Italy book a Euro 2012 final against holders Spain, earning Platini’s endorsement.
“I saw him play live for the first time (against Germany) and he is a very strong player,” Platini said.
“He is able to play well with his back to the goal, as he showed in the first matches of the tournament. Then, against Ireland, he came in (as a substitute) and scored, and he scored again against Germany.”
Platini said he was “pleasantly surprised by the beautiful game delivered by Italy”, while he believes Spain have become predictable, as opponents are familiar with their possession-based style.
Asked whether he would be cheering for a particular team in Sunday’s final, Platini remained diplomatic: “Let the best team win.”