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Inter teen star ready to commit to Italy

SoccerNews in Serie A 14 Jul 2008

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Italian champions Inter Milan’s teenage sensation Mario Balotelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday that his first call up to Italy colours cannot come soon enough.

The 17-year-old striker – who was born to Ghanaian parents – will celebrate his 18th birthday on August 12 and with it receive his first Italian passport that should signal the start of his international career.

“I’ve been waiting for years for this August 12 and becoming an Italian citizen because I am Italian,” he told the paper.

Despite being born in Sicily and adopted and brought up by Italian parents, the fact his blood parents were Ghanaian has meant he has had to wait till turning 18 before he could become a full Italian national.

Balotelli has long been seen as a future international and has turned down numerous requests by the Ghanaian FA to represent his birth-parents country, including the 2008 African Nations Cup in Ghana.

Instead he established himself in the Inter first team squad, where his pace and power troubled defences and allowed him to score seven times.

Soon it will be international defences that he will hope to make suffer and no doubt he will use some of the pent-up frustration he feels at having to wait for his chance in a blue shirt.

“Italy is where I was born, where I studied and where I play football,” he said.

“My language is Italian and my family is Italian. It is only because of some absurd law that I have had to live for 18 years as a foreigner in my own country.”

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