Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has officially been called up by Italy coach Roberto Mancini included the striker in a 35-man squad announced Monday for a three-day training camp this week, ahead of the World Cup playoffs in March.
Balotelli who is currently with Adana Demirspor in Turkey, has received his first Azzurri call up since September 2018, when he played 62 minutes of a 1-1 draw against Poland in the UEFA Nations League.
Mancini knows Balotelli well, with the pair having history together at both Inter and Manchester City. Whilst they developed a strong relationship, the player’s off-field antics often distracted from his potential on the pitch.
The 31-year-old Balotelli has the chance to be the key man in Italy’s upcoming World Cup play-offs; the Azzurri must first defeat North Macedonia before facing the winner of Portugal-Turkey.
AFCON 2022 Zabira
Mancini’s team have lacked a consistent goalscorer, with Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti both failing to be clinical on the big stage, and so Balotelli could carve out a spot for himself in the squad.