Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has told Mario Balotelli that he could match Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the world's best players if he 'wises up'.
Ronaldo is returning to Manchester for the first time since quitting Old Trafford in 2009 as his Real Madrid side face City in a crucial Chamoions League group game, and Mancini says Balotelli could emulate the Bernabeu darling if he knuckles down.
The volatile pair have rowed almost as often as Balotelli has scored goals for City and Mancini says the 22-year-old must understand that football has to come first in his life.
"Now he is 22, but life can go quickly and I hope he can improve everything, because as a player he could be like Cristiano and Messi," the Daily Mirror quoted Mancini, as saying.
"He could do this if he understands that to be like them you should work hard - your mind should be always on your job, not on the other things that are not important," he added.
Mancini has been a fan of his Italian compatriot since handing him his Inter Milan debut when Balotelli was 17, and feels he has all the attributes to make it to the very top, the report said.
"Mario, outside the pitch, is a fantastic guy. Sometimes he doesn't understand what is your job and how his job is important for his life, but I hope, for him, that he can understand this quickly," he said.
"I'm very sorry for him for this. He has everything to be one of the best players in the world. It's not easy to work with him every day because if you are a manager, you should manage 22 players. This is not easy sometimes, but I hope he can change his mind," he added. (ANI)