'All coaches like to train the best' – Allegri admits Balotelli admiration

The Juventus boss has called on the Liverpool striker to demonstrate his true qualities and has described Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Adnan Januzaj as “great players”

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has praised Mario Balotelli’s ability and admits “all coaches like to train the best players”.

The 24-year-old has failed to score a Premier League goal since joining Liverpool from AC Milan for €20 million last summer and has since found himself ousted from Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI.

The striker enjoyed some of the finest form in his career to date under Allegri at San Siro, scoring 12 goals in 13 games in the second half of the 2012-13 season, and the 47-year-old has called on him to show his quality again.

“Mario had a good season with me, I think. Unfortunately he’s built up a character outside the world of football and everyone talks about what he does off the pitch,” Allegri was quoted as saying by Tuttosport.

“I think he has some good technical and physical qualities, but the time came when it was up to him to prove his worth.

“All coaches like to train the best players. But Balotelli is a Liverpool player and I think first he has to think about playing well, sacrificing and giving his best – especially to show everyone who says he is an important player.”

Juventus have been frustrated in the January transfer window so far, with top target Wesley Sneijder set to stay with Galatasaray, prompting Allegri to admit that signing quality players halfway through the campaign is difficult.

However, fresh reports in Italy have emerged linking the Serie A leaders with potential bids for Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, and Allegri professed his admiration for both.

“Mkhitaryan and Januzaj are two great players but I don’t know if the clubs will sell them,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

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