For the first time since 2018, Mario Balotelli has been chosen in the Italy squad as the European champions prepare for their World Cup play-off semi-final. The 31-year-old striker, who previously played for Manchester City and Liverpool, has not represented his country since September 2018. Balotelli is one of 35 players selected for a three-day training camp after scoring nine goals in 21 appearances for his Turkish club Adana Demirspor this season.
Italy will face North Macedonia on 24 March in a World Cup play-off semi-final. Balotelli has a record of 14 goals in 36 games for his country, but has earned only three caps since the 2014 World Cup.
This week’s training camp is one of Roberto Mancini’s final opportunities to get his players together before the North Macedonia match. Balotelli worked under Mancini earlier in his career at Inter Milan and Manchester City.