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Balotelli 'could be like Messi' - Mancini

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Published on Nov 20, 2012

Mario Balotelli could be one of the all-time greats, according to his Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

"He could be Cristiano and Messi if he understands that, to be like this, you should work hard," says Mancini. "Your mind should always be on your job, not for the other things that aren't important. I'm very sorry for him for this - he has everything and could be one of the best players in the world."

Much has been made of the relationship between the two Italians. Balotelli's off-the-field antics - culminating in him being dropped earlier this month - have enraged the 47-year-old at times - with cracks beginning to appear between the pair.

Mancini says: "Sometimes, he doesn't understand which is your job and how important his job is for his life. I hope, for him, that he can understand this quickly because he's now 22 years old and life will go quickly. He's not easy to work with every day. As a manager, you need to manage 22 players every day. And it is difficult sometimes, and I hope that he can change his mind."

Balotelli faces a late fitness on a back injury and could be out of Manchester City's UEFA Champions League tie with Real Madrid. The injury blow won't help City's thin hopes of qualification for the knockout stages - needing victories from their remaining two matches and results to go their way.

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