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Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli key to Italy in Euro 2012

Whether you are a Blues or Reds fan, hero or villain Mario Balotelli is a world class player in the making.

He impacted on the Premier League title race with his inclusion against QPR but with a starring role for Italy in the Euro 2012 tournament he has the audience to show he is more that a playboy footballer.
 
In the first game against Spain in Group C 5pm kick off Gerard Pique knows he must stop Italy danger man Balotelli if they are to start the defence of their European Championship crown with a win.

Spain are the tournament favourites but after Germany and Holland have failed to impress, Pique expects a busy afternoon against the Manchester City striker.

"We will have to keep a very close eye on him," the defender said. "Balotelli is a player that can win you a game.

"He is a player that can take the ball and score when you least expect it."

The match fixing allegation have effected the Italian squad and the headlines must now be about success in the Euro 2012 tournament to give a rest bite to the prestige of the game in Italy.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will see if his protégé has matured during the campaign to be the first name on the teamsheet next season.

GH

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