Balotelli one of the world’s influential by Time


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AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli included in Time’s list of 100 most influential people.

The 22-year-old star is part of the “icon” section of the listing, along the likes of stars like United States First Lady Michelle Obama, pop stars Beyonce and Justin Timberlake and Burmese policitian Ang San Suu Kyi.

“Mario has all the qualities to be a top player: power and athleticism, alongside a good understanding of the game — all positive,” said former Italy star Gianfranco Zola.

“I worked with Mario for a short period with Italy’s Under-21 side. I liked him straight away. I liked the way he handled himself and his composure and calmness in situations.

“Mario could shrug off things happening around him. Only the big players have that calm. Mario can play the big games and handle the crucial moments, but he needs to keep control. That is vital for him.

“From afar, people may think he’s a madman, but he isn’t. Mario is a lovely guy, very humble and very funny. I can assure people he has always been a pleasure to deal with.

“He has returned to Italy from England as the main man with lots of attention. Now he has to ensure he keeps control and keeps focus. Mario loves the pressure, but to succeed, it is about finding balance.”

Aside from Balotelli, NBA star LeBron James and tennis phenom Ling Na are among the other sports athletes that are included in the list.

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