Former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi launched an attack on Mario Balotelli after the striker’s poor performance in the Azzurri’s 1-1 draw against Poland in the UEFA Nations League on Friday.
The Nice forward struggled to make an impact before being hauled off on the hour by new coach Roberto Mancini, as Italy laboured to a point in their opening game of the competition.
For ex-AC Milan coach Sacchi, who led Italy to the final of 1994 World Cup, Balotelli’s performance stemmed from a lack of footballing intelligence that could not be compensated by his natural talent.
“Many journalists are right to ask about him, and football is a team game,” Sacchi declared when asked about Balotelli’s performance, whilst appearing as a guest at an event by Radio Deejay.
“I would select players who have intelligence, it is worth much more than talent in the feet. In my team there would be players with passion, soul and personality.
“Everyone has cars, but they go nowhere without petrol. Fuel, in football, is intelligence, team spirit and passion.”
Balotelli made his first competitive appearance for Italy since the 2014 World Cup. The former Inter and AC Milan striker has scored 14 goals in 36 appearances for the Azzurri.