Mario Balotelli (Supplied)
Cape Town - Italy striker Mario Balotelli has reminded the football fraternity that his only objective at this juncture is to help Italy win the World Cup.
The controversial forward said this year’s Brazil campaign had nothing to do with him achieving stardom, despite there being considerable speculation about him possibly being one of the tournament's top performers.
"This World Cup is all about Italy, not Mario. I'm not interested in being treated as a big star like Neymar or Messi. All that matters is what the team achieves," said Balotelli, who is hoping to help Italy record-equalling fifth World cup title.
In the build-up to Italy’s Group D fixture against Costa Rica on Friday, much has been said about the Central American team’s performance against the more fancied Uruguay earlier in the tournament. In short, Costa Rica are believed by some to be a significant threat, but Balotelli is not letting that pressure get to him.
"When I watched Costa Rica play Uruguay I was watching for enjoyment, not to study them. I'm totally relaxed. I don't feel any pressure. I want to score as many goals as I can, but my focus is on helping Italy get as far as possible," he said.
"The World Cup is worth more than a Ballon d'Or or a Champions League title. Being here in Brazil is pretty special - I want to win the World Cup," added Balotelli.
Meanwhile, there has also been much reporting and rumour mongering about Balotelli’s possible departure from Italian giants AC Milan, who failed to qualify for European competition ahead of next season. However, not even that will destract Balotelli from his goal at this juncture.
"I don't know anything right now. We'll see after the World Cup," he concluded.