Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci has claimed that his international teammate Mario Balotelli's weakness is his personality, but that it is also a strength.
Balotelli was left out of new Azzurri manager Antonio Conte's 23-man squad for the friendly against the Netherlands last week as well as the Euro 2016 qualifier in Norway.
Although the new Liverpool man was suspended for the clash in Oslo, Conte picked Claudio Marchisio for the squad, with the midfielder - who played under Conte when he managed his former club Juventus - also suspended for that game.
The move points to a snub towards Balotelli, who like his history at both Milan clubs and Manchester City, is unpredictable and inconsistent, just as capable of getting sent off or having a poor game as he is of putting in sublime performances.
And Bonucci, who also played under Conte at Juventus, told the media after the Italian's 2-0 win in Oslo, in which the defender scored the second, that Balotelli's character was his achilles heel.
Bonucci told Rai Sport: "Mario will certainly have seen the games. If he does what the coach asks of him, then he can be a reference point for this Nazionale.
"The problem is he needs to understand to play for the Nazionale you have to work all together, run together and move constantly.
"We've never had a problem with Mario. We know what his personality is like and during the World Cup I tried talking to him, but we know his character is his Achilles heel. It can make him strong and weak at the same time."
Balotelli had a so-so World Cup. Despite scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over England, he put in two ineffective performances against Costa Rica and Uruguay as the Italians crashed out at the group stage for the second time in a row.
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