Balotelli has demons, he just wants to be a celebrity - Di Canio

The former Lazio star believes the 24-year-old striker will waste his natural talent unless he completely changes his attitude soon

Mario Balotelli has "demons in his brain" and is more interested in being a celebrity than a football player, according to Paolo Di Canio.

The striker's career has been shrowded in controversy from the very beginning, having burned bridges at Inter with Jose Mourinho and Manchester City under Roberto Mancini.

Now he is facing an uncertain future having failed to make an impact at Liverpool last season following a £16 million (€20m) move from AC Milan.

And Di Canio believes the 24-year-old must make some drastic changes to his attitude or else he will waste his natural talents.

"Talking as a manager, my view on football is you need to understand what it means to play with and for your team-mates," the Italian told TalkSport.

“You need to show empathy in good moments and bad moments. It doesn’t look like he is doing this.

"Many managers have tried to change him. Mancini was his father in football but even he now doesn’t want him back at Inter.

"Mourinho understood at the beginning. He is a very good reader of players and he saw that you can't change this guy. Now he is nearly 25, he needs to change himself. He can't rely on other people to help him.

"The demons are in his brain. He is still young, physically he is strong, he is an incredible natural athlete, but he has never used his big potential.

"Sometimes he thinks football is I can keep the ball, show off in some way, and then my team-mates have to run for me. No. Football is sacrifice. Football is to bond with your team-mates. Not off the field in a bar because you are generous. It is being generous on the pitch.

"He has big potential and I hope in my heart for him that he can turn it around, but I presume it will be very difficult because he spends too much time on social network and it seems he uses football to be a celebrity - not the opposite."


I'm smart enough to be Manchester United's centre-back, insists Blind

The 25-year-old partnered Chris Smalling in Saturday's 1-0 win over Tottenham and maintains he can fill the role on a long-term basis

Daley Blind insists he is “smart enough” to be Manchester United’s regular centre-back.

The 25-year-old was paired with Chris Smalling in United’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, but has primarily played at left-back and in central midfield since his arrival from Ajax last summer.

Louis van Gaal has already stated his preference to play a left-footed central defender and Blind maintains he is capable of filling the role.

“I’ve said many times before that I just want to play,” Blind told MUTV.

“If you see what everyone can add to the team, then it's a real battle for places and everyone had to fight for a position.

“I got a chance on this occasion and I tried my best. Of course, people always say I don't have the height or the power but I think I'm clever enough and smart enough.

“I think we did well at the back, together with Chris [Smalling], Luke [Shaw] and Matteo [Darmian], and we got a clean sheet so I was happy.”


Chelsea appeal Courtois red card

The Premier League champions will fight the one-match suspension handed to their No. 1 goalkeeper following his dismissal in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea will appeal against the red card shown to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea City at Stamford Bridge.

Courtois, 23, was shown a straight red card by referee Michael Oliver for denying Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis a clear goalscoring opportunity in the 52nd minute of Saturday's match with Chelsea 2-1 ahead.

Gomis then stepped up to beat Asmir Begovic from the penalty spot to earn a point for Garry Monk's side, and deny Jose Mourinho's side a win in the first game of the defence of their Premier League crown.

Courtois' appeal will be heard by the Football Association on Tuesday, with the goalkeeper currently set to miss Sunday's game against expected title rivals Manchester City at the Ethiad Stadium if the one-match ban is upheld.

Former top flight official Mark Halsey said on Monday morning that it makes "perfect sense" for Chelsea to appeal the decision, writing for Goal's Referee's Column: "Jose Mourinho should appeal... he has nothing to lose.

"The penalty was clear but whether or not to issue a red card was a very difficult decision for Michael Oliver, who is a talented young referee.

"He has to judge whether an obvious goalscoring opportunity has been denied, so when the incident occurs he's got to consider a number of factors in a matter of seconds: the distance to the goal, the likelihood of Gomis keeping control of the ball, the direction of play and the location and number of defenders in close proximity.

"When you think of the incident in terms of those criteria, is there doubt? I have to say yes. Gomis has touched the ball away from goal and taken himself wide, and Gary Cahill is potentially in a position to cover."