Mario Balotelli is tired of being in the eye of a hurricane, the president of the Italian soccer federation (FIGC) said on Monday after the maverick international became embroiled in another row.
"It's a demanding period for Mario and we have to understand the media pressure on him is excessive," Giancarlo Abete told RAI radio, a day after the AC Milan forward allegedly pushed away a television camera during a media scrum at Naples railway station.
"He can't take one step, or write one word, without it being interpreted in any number of different ways. He's a bit tired of always being in the eye of the cyclone.
"He's a 23-year-old lad who needs to grow and improve but the pressure on him is too great."
There were chaotic scenes as Italy arrived in Naples by high-speed train on Sunday evening for their World Cup qualifier at home to Armenia on Tuesday.
The squad were greeted by a media scramble at the station and Balotelli, who has a habit of getting involved in controversial incidents, appeared to push away a TV camera after it apparently clipped him on the arm as he walked by.
The striker, who missed Friday's 2-2 draw in Denmark due to illness, is serving a three-match domestic ban after insulting the referee at the end of the 2-1 home defeat by Napoli.
Italy have already qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Image: Mario Balotelli
Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images