Fabrizio Giovannozzi/AP/Press Association Images Italy's Antonio Cassano, left, yawns as Mario Balotelli stands beside him.
Euro 2012

I'll play it cool at the Euros, Mario Balotelli warns Ireland

The Manchester City striker says next month’s tournament is the ‘chance of a lifetime’ for him.

ITALY STRIKER Mario Balotelli says Euro 2012 will provide him the opportunity to prove he can keep his cool.

The controversial forward, 21, is expected to play a key role in Poland and Ukraine as Italy search for their first European title since 1968.

Balotelli was twice sent off for Manchester City in the Premier League last season but believes he can perform on the international stage.

“This could be the chance of a lifetime for me,” Balotelli said. ”I think my season was OK. I am young, this is when one can make mistakes.

“I am not affected by the responsibility that coach Cesare Prandelli has put on me. Like Roberto Mancini, he has put his faith in me.

“I cannot wait to repay him for that. I do not think I will ever leave him with 10 men on the field.”

Italy are in Group C with Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland, defending champions Spain and Croatia.

Balotelli also dismissed reports he was set for a move to AC Milan, insisting he will remain with the Premier League champions.

“Italy have a lot of good players. (Antonio) Cassano and I are not the best, we are simply the most talked about,” he said. ”Antonio Di Natale, for example, is very good, and I would be happy to play on the wings to give room for him in the team.

“I play at Manchester City and I am fine there. There have been no tricks from my agent. I will stay at City.”

Balotelli said AC Milan defender Thiago Silva would be a welcome addition to City should a speculated move to Etihad Stadium eventuate.

“If Thiago Silva comes to City, we will surely be stronger,” he said.

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