Mario Balotelli has told the Italian press he one day intends to become the world’s best player on the day he made his return to training with Liverpool.
Four years ago this week, Balotelli netted a brace as Italy beat Germany 2-1 to reach the final of Euro 2012. On Saturday evening, the two sides do battle again in the quarter-finals – a game Balotelli will be watching from his sofa.
The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at AC Milan but is now back with the Reds and it is understood he trained on Saturday at the club’s Melwood base.
A number of transfer links have failed to materialise for the player, who will work on his fitness with Liverpool before a potential move.
Alongside him at training were Mamadou Sakho, Lazar Markovic and Luis Alberto plus other players not away on international duty. Sergi Canos also reported to Melwood.
Coach Andreas Kornmayer led Saturday’s session, which focused primarily on testing.
However, all the focus was on Balotelli and the player insists he will recover from his disappointing season at AC Milan to return to Italy’s squad and fulfil his ambitions of winning the Ballon d’Or.
“I played the last two years under my standards. I had physical problems and other issues,” Balotelli told the Corriere della Sera.
“On a scale from 0 to 10 I’ve done 5, but I want to reach 10 because I’ve learned the lesson and I still have time. I will win the Ballon d’Or.”
On Antonio Conte’s decision to overlook the player for Euro 2016, Balotelli admits the outgoing Italy coach was left with little choice.
“Conte’s decision not to give me a call-up for Euro 2016 is right, I’d have done the same,” he admitted.
“I am sorry not to be in France, but that’s the only way it could end up. I can do much more than what I’ve been doing so far.”