The Italy coach told the striker to keep his shirt on to avoid picking up cheap bookings and reserved words of praise for Andrea Pirlo’s display on his 100th cap
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli advised Mario Balotelli to show a little more restraint in his goal celebrations after the striker’s winner during a 2-1 victory over Mexico in their Confederations Cup opener on Sunday.
The AC Milan star powered home the deciding strike with only 12 minutes remaining at the Maracana and removed his shirt in triumph, only to be promptly shown a yellow card by the referee.
And Prandelli, though pleased with his forward’s contributions, warned that his celebrations could hurt him in the long run.
“Everybody has seen his muscles by now so he doesn’t need to show them off by taking off his shirt next time,” he told reporters after the game.
“We have talked about this with Mario, because those yellow cards do add up. But I noticed how concentrated and motivated he was throughout the whole game.
“He only got slightly tense when we should have had a penalty against us but he scored a goal through strength and temperament.”
Andrea Pirlo won his 100th Azzurri cap on Sunday, marking the occasion with a spectacular free kick to open the scoring and Prandelli was quick to praise the veteran’s humility.
“Andrea Pirlo is football for us. He’s never wanted to become a character, he’s very down to earth, very normal but fantastic on the field.
“Apart from the fact that he was happy to get the 100th cap, the fact he scored in such a historic stadium as the Maracana is a great thing. There are no more words for Andrea, just a huge embrace and round of applause.”
The 55-year-old trainer did not limit his praise to one individual, however, adding: “I saw a very tactical game. Mexico were trying to counterattack whenever we made a mistake but I think we had a great game.
“We were never scared that we might not win. When they equalised, we had to start all over again but we stayed alert, kept our strength and managed to strike the right chords.
“We never gave away the ball and outnumbered our opponents in various areas of the field. It went according to plan so I’m very happy. Today we knew exactly what to do.”
Italy continue their campaign with a clash against Japan on Wednesday.