Mario can be as super as Messi and Ronaldo, declares Mancini

MANCHESTER City boss Roberto Mancini has told wayward striker Mario Balotelli he can be as good as superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he matures and devotes himself to football.

Balotelli is in contention for a recall for tonight’s Champions League visit from Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, which City must win to preserve gossamer-thin hopes of avoiding another group stage exit.

“Sometimes he doesn’t understand what the job is and how important the job is for your life. I hope for him that he can understand this quickly,” Mancini said yesterday.

“As a player he could be like Cristiano or Messi if he understands that you should work hard. Your mind should always be on your job, not other things that are not important. I’m very sorry for him because of this. It’s not easy to work with him every day.”

Only victory over the Spanish champions and then German title holders Borussia Dortmund will see City progress to the last 16.