AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri took off the kid gloves today when talking about striker Mario Balotelli’s red card against Napoli at the weekend:
“Mario has made a mistake, penalizing the team, club and the fans and he must change this,” he told a Press conference.
“Balotelli should help referees to protect him because if another player had suffered the fouls he did on Sunday then they would have whistled. The referees should be left alone because they can be influenced by negative attitudes.
“Mario is 23-years-old, he is no longer a child and to be a champion you have to have a correct behavior because you are an example for all those who look up to you. I hope for him he benefits from it and realizes that put team and club is in difficulty.
“You have to go on the pitch thinking about doing well. When you finish the game you need to go in the dressing room, accept what happened and think of working to do better. The club will decide what to do about Mario.
“We will try to make up for the absence of Balotelli with team play. When Mario arrived he gave us something more from the point of view of the individual and if on Sunday he played a good game it was because the team worked well.
“I thought Reina was Napoli’s best player. It is a contradiction to say that Milan played badly if the goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch. There are two things to consider: the firstly Balotelli has a wrong attitude towards referees. At the last meeting it was requested that everyone has a more correct attitude towards the referees.”
Allegri then went on to say:
“Players must think just about playing and not think about the decisions of the referees. There are situations that go beyond the rules of good manners. When the match is over it is over. Balotelli was wrong and that’s that, he must grow-up. He is a world-class player and an Italy international so he should set an example. He has been fine up until Sunday so hopefully he has learnt his lesson.”
Harsh comments from the AC Milan coach. Up until now managers have for the most part treated Balotelli with kid gloves. For the first time in a long time, a manager is making the striker publicly accountable for his accounts. The big question is how will Super Mario handle the public rebuke?