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Roberto Mancini appoints Mario Balotelli for the first time since 2018 in Italy

Mario Balotelli earns his first international call-up in over THREE YEARS as Roberto Mancini turns to the former Manchester City forward to get Italy’s World Cup hopes back on track

  • Mario Balotelli has not played for Italy since earning his 36th cap in 2018
  • He is now included in Roberto Mancini’s 35-man training squad
  • Italy to play a play-off match for the World Cup against North Macedonia in March
  • Mancini can rely on Balotelli to send his side to this year’s World Cup in Qatar



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Mario Balotelli has been called up to the Italian national team for the first time since 2018, as Roberto Mancini’s squad begins preparations for their crucial World Cup play-off game against North Macedonia in March.

The European champions will not play an official game this week, but Mancini has decided to name a 35-man training squad to meet on Wednesday, and Balotelli has tied the knot, as confirmed by the Italian squad. official Twitter account.

The 31-year-old currently plays his club football in Turkey for Adana Demirspor and has scored nine goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this season.

Mario Balotelli has done well in Turkey and has been rewarded with an international recall

Mario Balotelli has done well in Turkey and has been rewarded with an international recall

This is his first international call-up since joining Roberto Mancini's squad in 2018

This is his first international call-up since joining Roberto Mancini's squad in 2018

This is his first international call-up since joining Roberto Mancini’s squad in 2018

These numbers are good enough for Mancini, who has decided to bring Balotelli back from the international wilderness.

He now has the opportunity to cement his place in Mancini’s team.

Balotelli is joined in the squad by fellow strikers Ciro Immobile, Giacomo Raspadori, Gianluca Scamacca and Joao Pedro, but the number 9 position has become a problem for Italy of late.

They looked toothless on offense in their final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in November, with the game ending 0-0, allowing Switzerland to give them a lead over first place in the group.

Mancini's side has had trouble attacking since last summer's European Championship win

Mancini's side has had trouble attacking since last summer's European Championship win

Mancini’s side has had trouble attacking since last summer’s European Championship win

Mancini has now turned to Balotelli, with whom he previously worked at Manchester City

Mancini has now turned to Balotelli, with whom he previously worked at Manchester City

Mancini has now turned to Balotelli, with whom he previously worked at Manchester City

This means they still have work to do to make it to this year’s tournament in Qatar, and if they pass North Macedonia they could face Portugal in the play-off final.

Balotelli hopes to be involved in those games by proving his worth to Mancini during the upcoming training camp.

The pair know each other well from their time together at Manchester City, and it seems Mancini still has a soft spot for the enigmatic attacker.

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