Milan: Mario Balotelli has assured Italy coach Cesare Prandelli that he will be on his best behaviour for the duration of the Azzurri's Euro 2012 campaign. The Manchester City forward's antics have dominated the headlines in Britain throughout the season, leading to speculation that he would not be trusted to lead the line at Euro 2012.
However, Balotelli has stated that he is ready to curtail his erratic behaviour in order for the chance to represent his country at a major tournament. "Don't worry, there will be no problems at the Euros," he told Il Corriere Dello Sport. "I will keep myself under control.
"Prandelli and [Manchester City boss] Roberto Mancini are the greatest coaches I've worked with in my career, and they are also great people. I have to thank them so much."
Balotelli could line up alongside fellow 'bad boy' Antonio Cassano, and Balotelli confirmed that he is a good friend of the AC Milan forward.
"Before being team-mates on the field, we are friends off it," he said. "I mean we are really, really good friends. We often talk and joke around. Antonio is a lovely guy."
Balotelli went on to state that Italy will be the team to watch at the tournament, and said that they are capable of beating Spain.
"Spain are the strongest side in the world, but nobody is unbeatable. I have no doubt about it, Italy will be the team to watch at the Euros."
Meanwhile, Prandelli has also warned Balotelli to avoid controversy. Prandelli said the tournament is "an extraordinary chance" for Balotelli "to make people talk about him only for what he does on the pitch."
Balotelli has been included in Italy's provisional 32-man squad for the European Championship and joined his teammates Monday at the Azzurri's training ground near Florence.
Prandelli, who introduced a code of ethics when he became coach after the 2010 World Cup, left Balotelli out of the squad for a friendly against the United States in February after the player received a four-match suspension in January for his stamp on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker.
Italy kick off their Euro 2012 campaign with a clash against Spain on June 10.