The Manchester City striker wins Tuttosport's Golden Boy trophy as the best player under the age of 21.
Balotelli is City's Golden Boy
After the disappointment of seeing his team miss the chance to go top of the Premier League on Monday night, Mario Balotelli, the Manchester City striker, had something to shout about yesterday after winning Tuttosport's Golden Boy trophy as the best player under the age of 21.
The young Italian forward believes he was a worthy recipient of the accolade.
Balotelli, 20, finished ahead of Jack Wilshere, the Arsenal midfielder, for the Turin sports newspaper's award and told the publication: "I am delighted to receive this award.
"Who should have won this award but me? Two years ago I finished sixth and a year ago fourth.It was finally my turn."
Balotelli claimed he had never heard of Wilshere, who has earned plenty of praise for Arsenal this season.
"I don't know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him," Balotelli said
"Perhaps I can show him the Golden Boy trophy and remind him that I won it!"
Balotelli, who joined City in the summer from Inter Milan, has not been disheartened by the 2-1 defeat to Everton on Monday that kept City in third place in the league table. He said he hopes this award will be the first of many as he targets domestic and European success in 2011.
"My aim is that this prize will, in the near future, transform itself into the Golden Ball Award," he said. "To have won this award is a good omen to achieve that."
Balotelli has big ambitions for next year.
"All I ask for is two things: to win the Premier League, in order to continue with the tradition I had at Inter of winning three consecutive league titles, and to clinch the Europa League - a trophy that I have not yet won, and a competition where we are considered favourites," he said.
Balotelli was not at his best on Monday during the surprise home defeat to Everton which kept City from standing at the top of the table at Christmas for the first time in 81 years.
Everton goals from Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines preceded a late Phil Jagielka own-goal as Balotelli and his teammates squandered numerous chances in a game they dominated.
They are now two points behind leaders and city rivals Manchester United, who have two games in hand. City's next match is a trip to St James' Park on Sunday to face Newcastle United.