Balotelli: Only Messi better than me
Mario Balotelli is determined to become the best footballer in the world and believes only Lionel Messi is currently a better player.
Manchester City striker Balotelli was speaking after he was given the 'Golden Boy' award for being the best Under-21 player in Europe.
The Italy international beat Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to the prize and has now set his sights on winning the Ballon d'Or.
Though the 20-year-old has only impressed sporadically since joining City from Inter Milan in the summer, he believes he only trails Barcelona star Messi in the global pecking order.
"I want to be the best player in the world," Balotelli told Tuttusport. "It is good to have ambition. I've said in the past that I don't care what other people want or expect of me because I know what I want.
"I will always give everything because I want to become the best. That is my aim and I am determined to make it happen.
"I am really happy to have won the Golden Boy 2010, but who else should have won it if not me? Two years ago I finished sixth and in 2009 in fourth. Now it is my turn.
"Now my objective is to win the Ballon D'Or without age limits. To win the Golden Boy is a good omen to win the main prize. I am now a candidate for that.
"There is only one player who is a little stronger than me - Messi. All the others are behind me."