Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini claims his enigmatic forward Mario Balotelli can be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
Mancini left Balotelli out of the squad to face Tottenham earlier this month because of what he felt was a poor attitude in training.
That sparked fresh speculation the 22-year-old could leave City but Mancini insisted he has no intention of selling his former Inter Milan protege and has now urged him to focus fully on his football.
The rewards for that, he believes, could elevate him to the level of the world's best players.
Mancini said: "Mario, outside the pitch, is a fantastic guy.
"Sometimes he doesn't understand which is your job, and how his job is important for his life, but I hope for him that he can understand this quickly.
"Now he is 22 but life can go quickly and I hope he can improve everything because as a player he could be like Cristiano and Messi, if he understands that to be like this you should work hard, your mind should be ...