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Prandelli plans Balotelli, El Shaaraway pairing

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called on Mario Balotelli to form a strong partnership with fellow forward Stephan El Shaarawy.

Balotelli moved in January from Manchester City to Milan, where he will play alongside Italy team-mate El Shaarawy.

Prandelli welcomed the move ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam and believes it could be the start of something special for both Milan and Italy.

“I’m very happy that Balotelli has joined an Italian team,” he said.

“He is calm, motivated and maybe we can control him better now he is playing in Milan.

“In August, we started to think about pairing Balotelli and El Shaarawy. We believed they could be an important partnership.

“El Shaarawy played against England in August when Mario wasn’t playing, but in the last match against France we have seen that they have huge potential playing together.

“Right now we can’t make definite choices, but this is certainly a great pairing.”

El Shaarawy scored the only goal in Italy’s 2-1 loss to France in November, while Balotelli played the full 90 minutes in an impressive display.

Prandelli believes Balotelli, who endured his fair share of controversies in England, can escape the spotlight in Italy with a new mindset.

“Balotelli has become a character that goes beyond his football career,” he said.

“Everything that happens to him, it does not happen by chance, he is kind of a predestined guy.

“Right now everything is up to him and he should have the willingness to show only his football skills.

“He doesn’t want to be a character. We have already talked about that aspect of him and tried to work on it.

“He should have the strength to make a name for himself with his performances on the pitch.”

Mon 4 February, 2013
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