Mario Balotelli recalled to Italy squad for first time since 2014 World Cup

Mario Balotelli is back in the Italy squad after receiving a summer call-up from Roberto Mancini, his former boss atManchester City.
The 27-year-old Nice striker, who has scored 13 goals across his 33 appearances for the Azzurri , last featured for Italy at the 2014 World Cup, subsequently being overlooked by Antonio Conte and Giampiero Ventura.
New national team head coach Mancini knows Balotelli well from their time together at City — a three-year collaborationduring which the forward produced some of the best football of his club career.
An 18-goal haul for Nice in Ligue 1 this season has convinced Mancini to include Balotelli in a 30-man selection who will face Saudi Arabia, France and Netherlands in upcoming friendlies. Italy failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup.
Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s 176-cap career with theAzzurri is definitely over, a decision he revealed this week, soAC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma is named and will likely beMancini’s No. 1.
There are first calls for Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara, Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri, Torino midfielder DanieleBaselli, Crotone midfielder Rolando Mandragora and Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi.
Italy face Saudi Arabia in St Gallen on May 28 before meeting France in Nice on June 1 and welcoming Netherlands to Turin three days later.

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