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Mario Balotelli couldn't care less if he's mentioned in the same breath as Neymar or Messi

  • 575bd925d02c7217570f6a7067005f46.jpg

    Italy's player Mario Balotelli sprints during his team's training session in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Balotelli marked his first World Cup game by scoring the winner for Italy against England. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil Soccer WCup Italy-2.jpg

    Italy's Mario Balotelli smiles during a training session in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Italy plays in group D at the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (The Associated Press)

Mario Balotelli couldn't care less if he's mentioned in the same breath as Neymar or Lionel Messi at this World Cup — as long as he comes away with the trophy.

Having scored the winning goal in Italy's 2-1 victory over England and now getting ready for Friday's match against Costa Rica, the temperamental forward says, "I'm not really interested in being compared to the big stars. In the end it's the squad that wins. I don't want to be a big star. I want to win the World Cup."

Wearing a black cap turned backward and gold earrings at a news conference, Balotelli was his usual candid self.

Asked if he minds being the lone forward in Cesare Prandelli's 4-1-4-1 formation, Balotelli snapped back, "As long as I play."