Mario Balotelli just wants to be a celebrity, according to Paolo Di Canio, who believes the Liverpool outcast is wasting his potential.
Balotelli’s days at Anfield appear numbered after scoring just one Premier League goal in 16 appearances last season, though there have been no clubs willing to take a risk on the embattled striker so far.
The Italy international did not feature in the club’s 1-0 win over Stoke City in their Premier League opener on Sunday and he is behind Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge in Brendan Rodgers’ pecking order.
Countryman Di Canio, who earned iconic status during his time with West Ham between 1999 and 2003, feels the 24-year-old is running out of chances to resurrect his career, while he focuses too much on his image.
“I am talking as a manager and my view on football is you need to understand what it means to play with and for your team-mates, Di Canio told TalkSport.
“You need to share empathy in good moments and bad moments. It doesn’t look like he is doing this.
“Many managers have tried to change him. Mancini was his father in football but even he now doesn’t want him back at Inter Milan.
“Mourinho understood at the beginning. He is a very good reader of players and he said that you can’t change this guy. Now he is nearly 25, he needs to change himself. He can’t rely on other people to help him.
“The demons are in his brain. He is still young, physically he is strong, he is an incredible natural athlete, but he has never used his big potential.
“Sometimes he thinks football is I can keep the ball, show off in some way, and then my team-mates have to run for me. No. Football is sacrifice. Football is to bond with your team-mates. Not off the field in a bar because you are generous. It is being generous on the pitch.
“He has big potential and I hope in my heart for him that he can turn it around, but I presume it will be very difficult because he spends too much time on social network and it seems he uses football to be a celebrity – not the opposite.”
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