Rome, July 19 (IANS) Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo has asked countryman Mario Balotelli to stop wasting time and added that by now he should have been one of the best in the world.
The controversial striker was recently overlooked by former Italy manager Antonio Conte for Euro 2016 while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has also declined to include him in his squad and has told him to look for another club.
“I have played with some of the best strikers, and I can tell you Mario has all the attributes to be one of the best strikers in the world,” Pirlo was quoted as saying by the Mirror on Monday.
“By now I thought that is where he would be, that is where he should be. He has no more time to waste.”
The 2006 World Cup winner went on to say that Balotelli frustrates him nowadays with the opportunities and time that he is wasting.
“He frustrates me, but I do have so much affection for Mario,” the Milan and Juventus legend said.
“He is infectious to be around. When I used to see him walk into training for Italy, he would have this big smile on his face — and I would just burst out laughing — and start wondering what is he thinking, what is he up to?”
“Mario should not just be a character the media write about for good stories. We shouldn’t forget what a special player he is.”
Pirlo also believes that Balotelli can resurrect his career by choosing his next club carefully. But he also warned him against a big money move to China.
“He has played for so many big clubs, it’s easy to forget he’s only 25,” said Pirlo, who now plays for Major League Soccer outfit New York City FC.
“He still has time to make it at the very top. He needs to pick his next club carefully. I have read things about him and China. With all respect to their league, Mario should not be going there yet.”
“If he has two or three good seasons at his next club, he will still only be 28 and could join one of the top clubs in Europe,” he added.
“I don’t have any advice for him anymore, he knows the qualities that he has. From this point, it’s up to Mario.”