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Born-Again Balotelli Disappointed With Italy Snub, Eyes Return To Squad

Born-Again Balotelli Disappointed With Italy Snub, Eyes Return To Squad

Italy forward Mario Balotelli has admitted he was surprised he did not get a call-up to the Azzuri squad and assured whoever will be taking over the manager’s job permanently that he is more mature now.

The Nice striker was overlooked for Italy’s recent friendlies against Argentina and England over the international break with caretaker boss Luigi Di Biagio preferring Ciro Immobile, Andrea Belotti and Patrick Cutrone.

Balotelli has had an impressive season in France, scoring 22 times in 31 matches.

“If I’m honest: I expected to be back in Azzurro (Italian national team),” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I’ve matured, I’m 27 and I have two children. The time for [messing around with] girls has long gone.”

He has not represented his country since the 2014 World Cup despite also enjoying a goal-glut season last term.

Di Biagio has been made favourite to take the Italy job on a permanent basis and insisted the door is still open for Balotelli.

He recently said: “Numbers and goals are important for forwards but they have to be linked to a certain type of performance.

“I have looked, judged and decided. I will continue to follow him and we will see what he does in the next few months.”

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