The Azzurri defender labelled the Santos forward a "phenomenon" but feels that his compatriot is currently poised to offer a greater impact in next year's competition.
"Neymar is a phenomenon and only lacks European experience to be the best, but as I mentioned, Balotelli is proving to be more ready at this point," he told La Stampa.
"Who seems to be more ready to become the star at the next World Cup? For me,
Balotelli is more ready because he already has had important experiences."
Italy drew with Luiz Felipe Scolari's side 2-2 on Thursday evening.