Mario Balotelli has never been out of the headlines since his £21 million move to Manchester City – whether that be for scoring scintillating goal or setting fireworks off in his bathroom.
The theme of the latter however, has started to irritate the current Italian national team manger Cesare Prandelli – resulting in the 21-year-old being left out of the squad for the upcoming fixture against the USA in Genoa.
Prandelli, 54, has reiterated that the players were warned of the consequences if behavioral standards were not met.
He said: "The players know it, acting like this they will miss the Euros.
"Enough of this football full of rash reactions and punches, it is a sign of weakness. You cannot be in the national squad if you risk leaving the team with 10 men."
Balotelli has been in respectable form in recent weeks - scoring the opener against Blackburn at the weekend to take his tally to 13 goals from 25 appearances for the season.
Yet the repeated ‘bad boy’ image has never left the Italian. In City’s home game against a high flying Tottenham side, the forward appeared to stamp on Spurs midfielder Scott Parker’s head – who today has been voted England’s fans player of the year for 2011- resulting in a four match ban.
As Prandelli suggests, this side of Balotelli has to go. If he wants to make himself a top international player in years to come, the constant bad publicity will only cast a shadow over what is a his magnificent talent.