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Mario Balotelli to blame for Italy Euro 2016 snub - Leonardo Bonucci

Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci has said that Mario Balotelli only has himself to blame for not making it into the country's squad for Euro 2016.

One of the Squadra Azzurra's heroes at the last European Championship four years ago, and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential men on the planet in 2013, Balotelli's career has ebbed away in recent years, culminating in his exclusion from Antonio Conte's preliminary 30-man squad for this summer's tournament in France.

According to Bonucci, Balotelli need look no further than himself for an explanation as to why he will not be representing his country this summer.

""What can you say about Mario? It's always been up to him," Bonucci said at a news conference on Wednesday. "He should have been intelligent to understand where he had to change. Unfortunately to this day he still hasn't done that.

"In a national team like this one, he could have been important if only he had realised that it's the team which counts, not the individuals. There's no time to think about prima donnas, you need to be like tanks, ready to fight for one another.

"If only he had realised this secret in these years, he would have become one of the best forwards in the world and he would be here with us now. He needs to change something inside him to ensure the future will still hold some satisfaction for him and to win back this shirt."

Andrea Pirlo was also omitted from Conte's squad, but Bonucci said the two situations cannot be compared.

"There's no discussing Andrea," Bonucci said. "He's football personified. As the coach has said, when you make certain choices [like moving to MLS], you can imagine what the consequences will be. I'm sorry because he was an important figure in the dressing room and he would have been important for us."

Bonucci also dismissed suggestions Italy may be weakened by the fact that Conte has already announced he will be leaving his role at the end of the tournament and taking over at Chelsea next season.

"That doesn't change anything at all," the 29-year-old Juventus defender said. "At the end of the day, we all share the same objective, which is to have a great European Championship because we will all benefit from it.

"We're going to be a group, a squad, a block which will fight for an objective and we want to dream and ensure that this scepticism transforms into joy."