Mourinho gets tough with Balotelli
© AFP

Teenage Inter Milan star Mario Balotelli has paid for his poor attitude with coach Jose Mourinho excluding him from first team action until the end of the month.

The 18-year-old son of Ghanaian immigrants is considered to be Italy's finest young talent and has already played for the Italy U-21 side four times, scoring three goals. The striker broke into the Inter side during the second half of last season and has seen regular playing time alongside star Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic during this campaign.

However Mourinho, a stickler for discipline, dropped him from his squad back in November, criticising Balotelli's application to training, and on Monday he revealed that things have not improved. "Nothing has changed, neither Balotelli's way of training nor his attitude," said the former Chelsea and Porto boss ahead of Tuesday's Coppa Italia clash at home to Genoa.

"His brother (and agent) has made it clear that Mario wants to go out on loan but I will wait until the end of the transfer window after which he will understand that he has to stay. Maybe then he will change his attitude and return to the first team fold."

Back in November Mourinho complained about Balotelli's attitude and said that if he applied himself as some of the club's more established pros do, he could become one of the world's best.

I can't accept that from someone who is still a nobody, who hasn't made it yet, who is still a talent with potential. He needs to train harder.
Jose Mourinho on Mario Balotelli.

"As far as I'm concerned a young boy like him cannot allow himself to train less than people like (Luis) Figo, (Ivan) Cordoba or (Javier) Zanetti," said Mourinho at the time.

"I can't accept that from someone who is still a nobody, who hasn't made it yet, who is still a talent with potential. He needs to train harder, to understand what are the important things for me which I think are important for him and his future.

"Because if he was to train half as hard as players like Zanetti and the others, he would be one of the best in the world. But he only trains 25 percent as hard. Hence in January he will definitely stay here to learn how to train well."

However, while Balotelli faces an extended period out in the cold, someone who will get another chance despite a perceived poor attitude is Brazilian Adriano. He faced a fine of up to 150,000 euros a week ago after missing the first training session of the year while he was twice excluded during the first half of the season due to poor commitment. But he will get a game against Genoa.

"He won't play 90 minutes, we'll see if he starts or comes on," said Mourinho. "The Brazilian is not in top form but he's on his way back."