Mario admits to room for improvement

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Manchester City's controversial striker, Mario Balotelli, has admitted that he is not yet the finished article, accepting that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The Italian international has previously spoken of his desire to be considered as one of the best players in the world, but by his own accord, the 21-year-old frontman admits that there is a lot of work to be done before he can be spoken about in the same breath as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, Balotelli believes that it's only a matter of time before he reaches his full potential, and the troublesome striker has set his sights on winning the Ballon d'Or.

Speaking to France Football, Balotelli said: "My dream is to become in time the strongest footballer. I know I am strong, but if I go on working I know I can become much stronger."

He added: "The Ballon d'Or is the most important title after the World Cup and European Championship. It is an objective. I think I could be able to win it one day. But I still have to work a lot.

"When I decide to score, I score. I know I am strong, but I believe it is not enough yet. I can kick fine, dribble very well, but I still have to improve."

Whilst he accepts that he still needs to develop as a player, the former Inter Milan striker clearly isn't short on confidence.

"Yes, I think I am a genius, but not a rebel. I have my life, my world, I do what I want, without annoying anyone. I believe I am more intelligent than the average person.

"The talent God gave me is beautiful and wonderful, but it is difficult. Because you are always facing other people keen to judge you.

"There are few people with such talent, so there are few able to judge what I am doing."

Despite a turbulent City career to date, with Balotelli never far from controversy for his off-field antics, the Italian youngster also impressed on it, scoring 13 times in 23 appearances for Roberto Mancini's side.

To cap an eventful year, Balotelli picked up a Premier League winner's medal, as he came off the bench and played his part in a dramatic and pulsating 3-2 victory over QPR on the final day of the league season, which ensured the title would be going to the Etihad Stadium for the first time in 44 years.

And, Balotelli believes that this trophy is just the first of many, and has once again moved to distance himself from speculation surrounding his future, rejecting talks of a possible summer switch to AC Milan, insisting that he plans to remain at City for the long-term.

When asked whether he'd still be at City come the start of the 2012-13 season, Balotelli said: "I don't know. I believe yes. You should ask (his agent) Mino Raiola.

"Personally I would like to stay at City, who I am fond of. Yes I would like to stay."

The close-knit relationship between Balotelli and City boss Mancini is well documented, and it's fair to say that even the most understanding of managers would have become increasingly frustrated with some of his antics this season.

However, 'Super Mario', as he is affectionately known amongst City fans, acknowledges the role that Mancini has played in his development as a player, and he owes a great deal of gratitude to the former Inter chief.

"Roberto Mancini has known me since I am a kid. He really knows me. More than a coach-player relationship, it is a friendship between us.

"Mancini has always trusted me. It is not that easy when b******s talk to the press, people saying they saw you here and there at night.

"When I don't play it is then difficult to say: 'Mario takes the team's lead and makes it into a win'. However that is what Mancini has always done. I will always remain grateful for that."

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Manchester City
Premier League
Mario Balotelli

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