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Balotelli bids to safeguard Italy spot

Balotelli's latest sending-off against Arsenal earlier this month led Prandelli to ponder whether the hot-headed 21-year-old should go to June's European Championships given his array of misdemeanours.

"The national team for me comes before everything. I want to win with Manchester City and at the Euros," the player told Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

His chances of going to Ukraine and Poland, where Italy face holders Spain, Ireland and Croatia, have been boosted by fellow striker Giuseppe Rossi being ruled out through injury and Antonio Cassano being only just back in action after a heart problem.

Not taking livewire Balotelli would leave Prandelli lacking real class up front but the Italy boss risks more bad behaviour if he plumps for the former Inter Milan man, who has seven caps.

"I have reassured both City manager Roberto Mancini and Prandelli that I will not leave my team-mates with 10 men again," said Balotelli, whose City side are second in the Premier League.