Cesc Fabregas has warned his Spanish team-mates about the threat of Italy’s star striker Mario Balotelli ahead of the Euro 2012 final on Sunday.
The Manchester City man scored two superb goals to dispatch Germany on Thursday night as the Azzurri made it through to tomorrow’s showdown by winning 2-1.
Fabregas’ comments are no surprise given the threat that Balotelli – joint top of the list of golden boot candidates – poses.
“Balotelli is a great player,” the Barcelona midfielder told Sky Sports.
“He showed that by scoring two superb goals in a semi-final against a very strong team like Germany.”
But Fabregas knows the threat to Spain’s attempt to win three major international titles comes from more than just the entertaining front man.
“They have a very competitive team,” he explained.
Italy are very experienced at the back and up front, and they have players who had excellent seasons for teams like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
“Italy’s defenders are very experienced, and they know when to attack and when to defend. On top of that they have a goalkeeper (Gianluigi Buffon) who’s a natural leader, but Spain have a great goalkeeper as well in Iker Casillas.
“They also have a lot of variety up front. They have strong players like Balotelli, tricky players like Cassano, and in midfield they have special players like (Claudio) Marchisio and (Andrea) Pirlo, who’s had a great tournament.
“It will be a tough game and the winners will be deserving champions. I think we’ve been the two most consistent teams at the tournament.”