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Balotelli eyes World Cup opportunity
Dec 13, 2013 2:13 PM EST
Milan forward Mario Balotelli wants to prove his credentials as a world-class striker at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.
Balotelli has nine goals in all competitions for Milan this season, including a brace in Sunday's 2-2 draw against Livorno.
The 23-year-old also has found the net four times in his last seven appearances for Italy and featured regularly during his country's unbeaten World Cup qualification campaign in Group B.
A week after Italy were drawn in the same group as Uruguay, England and Costa Rica for next year's tournament, Balotelli has stated his desire to prove himself as the best striker in the world in Brazil.
"Brazil is a perfect time for me to establish myself as number-one striker in the world," he said in quotes reported by The Sun.
"The World Cup is where I want to make my mark. The best players always perform on the biggest stages."
Balotelli also backed his national side to come through their World Cup clash with England in Manaus, claiming Italy are "stronger" than Roy Hodgson's men.
"All I will say is that I believe we are a stronger team than England and historically we always perform better than them at the major competitions," he continued.
"I don't think it matters so much that Italy v England is in the jungle. It's a World Cup and all the players want to do is represent their country."