Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has dismissed comparisons between Mario Balotelli and former Brazil international Adriano.
Balotelli has scored seven goals in six games since switching to AC Milan from Manchester City, which has silenced some critics who felt that the Italy striker would struggle after returning home.
Adriano saw his work ethic questioned in 2005 when he was 23 years old, and that has continued to the present day, but Prandelli believes that Balotelli will never follow the same path.
“The advantage for my Italy side is that by playing at Milan he [Balotelli] can train with another four internationals,” continued Prandelli.
“Is he like Adriano? In the two years I worked with Adriano at Parma, he was very motivated. He was one of the best players I ever trained. It’s a shame he settled with what he had already done.
“Mario has more pride than Adriano and really wants to prove he is one of the best in the world.”
The the Azzurri heading into a game against Brazil with the latter struggling to find their feet under Luiz Felipe Scolari, many have tipped the Italians as favourites, but Prandelli played down those suggestions.
“It seems an exaggeration to say we are favourites,” Prandelli continued. “Yes, they are seeking their identity, but they have never lost that spirit.
“They have extraordinary quality and their own style of football. We are not the favourites, but we hope to make life difficult for them tomorrow.
“Brazil are seeking the right team for the World Cup and this is a generational change. They will be prepared for the tournament as hosts.
“Neymar is one of the best modern strikers in world football. He combines technique and quality with the ability to change tempo as he runs. He can attack the defensive line even without a partner.”