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Soccer: Balotelli 'can be as good as Messi, Ronaldo'

But striker has to work hard, says Man City boss Mancini

Soccer: Balotelli 'can be as good as Messi, Ronaldo'

Rome, November 20 - Italy forward Mario Balotelli has what it takes to join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and become one of the world's best soccer players, Roberto Mancini, his coach at Manchester City, said on Tuesday. But Mancini also suggested that the 22-year-old forward, who is also famous for his temperamental streak and his bizarre off-field escapades, needs to work harder in training to achieve his full potential. "He has everything to be one of the best players in the world," Mancini told a press conference. "He could be like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he understands that to be like this you should work hard". Balotelli is a doubt for City's Champions League game against Real Madrid on Wednesday because of a back problem although Mancini has left him out of his team for some recent matches even when he was fit. "Mario off the pitch is a fantastic guy. Sometimes he doesn't understand how his job is important for his life but I hope he can understand this quickly," added Mancini. "He is 22 but life can go quickly. He needs to understand that to be like Ronaldo and Messi he should work hard, his mind should be always on his job, not on the other things that are not important."

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