Balotelli can still become a great player - Tardelli

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World Cup-winning former Italy player Marco Tardelli believes Mario Balotelli is still capable of achieving greatness.

Balotelli has struggled to fulfil the promise he showed at Inter and Manchester City, drifting through an indifferent spell at AC Milan before failing miserably to make an impact at Liverpool.

The striker has offered a reminder of what he is capable of after leaving Anfield for Nice in August, scoring nine goals in 11 Ligue 1 appearances. 

And Tardelli, who won the 1982 World Cup with the Azzurri and starred for Juventus and Inter during his impressive career, backed the wayward forward to get it right before it is too late.

"I am always in favour of giving a player his last chance and Balotelli can still become a great player," the five-time Scudetto winner told Omnisport.

"So far he is not accomplished as a player but boasts an immense talent. I hope he can do it. It will be very hard for him but I hope he can make it."

Tardelli also defended Mauro Icardi, who has been the subject of a stinging verbal rebuke from fellow Argentine Diego Maradona over the Inter captain's marriage to the ex-wife of former team-mate Maxi Lopez. 

"Icardi wants to live his life, he is not a traitor and nobody has to tell him what to think," he said of the 23-year-old. 

"Icardi is doing well at Inter, is he not? He is scoring a lot and last year found the net 20 times. He has a lot of quality. If [in Argentina] they link him to gossip, well... even Maradona was linked to gossip."