Prandelli: Balotelli not yet a champion

The former Italy coach has also taken a swipe at Giuseppe Rossi “as a man” and revealed that he and his family have been subjected to death threats

Former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli believes that Mario Balotelli still has some way to go before he can be considered a true “champion”.

The AC Milan foward netted the winner in the Azzurri’s World Cup opener against England but disappointed in their subsequent defeats to Costa Rica and Uruguay.

Even Prandelli appeared to lose patience with Balotelli in Brazil, hauling the forward off at half-time in the latter loss, and he has now admitted that he feels the 23-year-old still has so much to prove.

“For now he only has great shots, but he’s not yet a champion,” the new Galatasaray boss told reporters at his official unveiling on Tuesday. “He must work to become one.”

Prandelli also took a swipe at Giuseppe Rossi, who lashed out publicly at the coach following his omission from Italy’s World Cup squad.

“Giuseppe Rossi is the one who disappointed me the most, as a man more than as a player,” the former Fiorentina boss stated.

Meanwhile, Prandelli revealed that he and his family have been subjected to death threats in the wake of the Azzurri’s shock first-round elimination in Brazil and admitted that he has been taken aback by the severity of some of the criticism he received from the media just two years after leading Italy to the final of Euro 2012.

“We are receiving numerous letters from so-called supporters,” Prandelli lamented.

“I decided to resign and not to ask for any bonus from the Italian FA, and I promised myself not to train any Italian team, at least for the moment.

“During the World Cup there were maybe some players who were frightened by the pressure, but the group was solid, not devastated as someone reported.

“Being compared to Schettino [the infamous Costa Concordia captain, who left the ship while sinking] was the thing that hurt me the most.”

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