ROME (Reuters) - Mario Balotelli will only regain his place in the Brescia team if he shows more determination and enthusiasm, coach Fabio Grosso said after dropping the maverick forward for Sunday’s 3-0 Serie A defeat by AS Roma.
“Mario will always be a talking-point because he is news,” Grosso said after a loss which kept his team bottom of Serie A with seven points from 12 games.
“I coach the team and he can play a leading role if he has the desire, determination and enthusiasm. I’m the one who decides or not whether that is the case.”
Grosso has been in charge for two games which have seen his side suffer two defeats and concede seven goals. He fielded Balotelli for the first half of the first game, a 4-0 loss to Torino, but substituted him at halftime after Brescia were reduced to 10 men.
“He has the necessary quality to do well, but we are bottom of the table and you need more than a striker who can hit the ball hard and score when he gets it. You also need willingness, hard work and something more,” Grosso said.
“If Mario cannot make himself available, the team will struggle to support him.”
Balotelli has played for Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan, Liverpool, Nice and Olympique de Marseille and made 36 appearances for Italy but, despite his undoubted talent, his career has been dogged by disciplinary problems.
Born in Sicily to Ghanaian parents and given up for adoption when he was three, he has also been the victim of racist abuse throughout his career in Italy.
Earlier this month, Verona were handed a one-match partial stadium closure and the club themselves banned one of their leading ultras for more than 10 years over racist abuse Balotelli suffered during a match there.
He has scored two goals in seven appearances since joining Brescia this season.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge