FLORENCE, Italy - Mario Balotelli insists he's not crazy, although he does acknowledge that he "can do strange things" from time to time.
For example, Balotelli recently had to evacuate his house in England after fireworks were let off in his bathroom. And he has been questioned by Naples prosecutors over a visit with the Camorra crime syndicate, allegedly saying he saw bags of cocaine piled on a table.
Speaking at Italy's training camp on Wednesday, the Manchester City striker was also asked about constantly ending up pictured on the gossip pages with an array of women.
The media "tends to talk more about my private life than what I do on the pitch. It's normal but it bothers me," Balotelli said. "I'm not crazy, not at all — even though I can do strange things."
With Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi both out long-term because of injury, Italy is counting on Balotelli to lead its attack in friendlies at Poland on Friday and at home against Uruguay four days later.
The 21-year-old Balotelli has scored five goals for Premier League leader City this season but is still yet to find the target in five appearances with Italy.
"I always have pressure on me," Balotelli said. "I'm ready to take responsibility."
The son of Ghanian immigrants, Balotelli often faced racial taunts when he played for Inter Milan despite being born and raised in Italy.
"Racism is ignorance. I can only hope that certain things don't happen again," Balotelli said, adding that he doesn't miss Serie A at all. "Serie A has fallen. The Premiership is a great league and I'm playing for the best squad. I don't see my future in Italy."