Ghana target Balotelli for World Cup

ROME - Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac plans to meet Inter Milan's Mario Balotelli next week to try to convince the Italy Under-21 forward to play for his team at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

The 19-year-old grew up in Italy but is of Ghanaian decent and would be eligible for a call-up from Rajevac because he has never played for the Azzurri at full international level.

"After the World Cup draw I'll go to Europe. I have a series of meetings planned with my players in the European (domestic) championship and my intention is to speak with Balotelli," Rajevac told Wednesday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The idea is to go to Bologna to meet our captain Stephen Appiah and get him to accompany me to Milan to meet Mario and (Sulley) Muntari.

"I'm happy with the strikers I have but Balotelli has exceptional qualities. Who wouldn't want someone like that? He's young, he plays in a big team and he's very, very good."

Balotelli turned down the chance to play for Ghana in a friendly against Senegal in 2007.

The teenager is at the centre of a storm over racism in Serie A ahead of this weekend's match between Inter and Juventus, after repeatedly being the victim of racist and offensive chants, especially from Juve fans.

Inter bosses have played down speculation linking the forward to Premier League club Arsenal after coach Jose Mourinho criticised his attitude on a number of occasions recently.