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Ukraine vs Italy: Gilardino Gets Captaincy Honour As Balotelli Remains Ashamed

March 28, 2011 By Angela Asante
Ukraine vs Italy is one of Tuesday’s top friendly matches, but naughty boy Balotelli won’t have the chance to take part in it. Meanwhile, Gilardino has been offered the captain's armband.
After doing just enough to defeat Slovenia in the Euro 2012 qualifiers last weekend, Cesare Prandelli has allowed himself to make quite a number of changes ahead of the friendly match against Ukraine. The Italy coach will have Maggio, Viviano, Gastaldello, Criscito, Chiellini, Montolivo, Marchisio, Aquilani, Rossi and Gilardino lined up as starters on Tuesday. Among these 11 players, Gilardino has been chosen to as the skipper and this decision from the manager has apparently moved him.

“To carry the captain’s armband against Ukraine tomorrow will be great. It’s a great gift from the national team,” Gilardino told reporters.

“I want to say ‘thank you’. For me, it’s an honour. It’s more so, knowing that players such as Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluigi Buffon have assumed this role.”

So whereas Gilardino has received recognition from Coach Prandelli, Mario Balotelli has become an incarnation of boredom to the manager. Last week, the troublesome Manchester City player once again made the headlines for misbehaving off-the-pitch.

As The Sun reported, Balotelli was the cause of a bizarre incident after taunting Rooney’s famous hooker Jenny Thompson at the San Carlo restaurant in Manchester. The story revealed that ‘Super Mario’ had tried to provoke Thompson’s pal, Sam Birch, for a physical fight. The City striker eventually received heavy criticism from the public and this doesn’t exclude Italy boss Cesare Prandelli who spoke to the press, saying:

“I believe that, in certain cases, your behaviour off-the-pitch influences what you do on the pitch. It’s important to realise that such attitudes affect your performances and you risk hurting yourself.

“I don't know the details of what happened, and I don't want to get involved. Did he do that because he was bored? I think it was just a provocation.

“Next time, he can call me if he feels bored. But it's clear that everyone is responsible of their own behaviour. As for me, I only want responsible players for the national team.”

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