Mario Balotelli insists that he deserves a recall to the Italy national team, asserting that he remains the strongest striker available for the Azzurri.
Balotelli, who last played for Italy over five years ago, has accumulated 36 caps and scored 14 goals. Currently, he is a part of the Turkish side Adana Demirspor and has made a strong impact since joining in September, scoring three times in five Super Lig appearances. At 33 years old, he is brimming with confidence and advocates for his inclusion in the national team, urging coach Luciano Spalletti to consider him for a return.
“If I’m well, I still consider myself the strongest. Did [Giacomo] Raspadori and [Gianluca] Scamacca play [against Ukraine]? How many shots did they take combined? Two? I want to recover and play for the national team and I always hope for the call. I met Spalletti and I’ve met him several times. We made some jokes when we met in a friendly with Napoli, but I have no relationship.”
Balotelli’s last game for Italy was five years ago
Italy narrowly avoided missing out on a spot in Euro 2024 as they secured a second-place finish in their group with a goalless draw against Ukraine in the last qualifying match.
The tense encounter left Ukraine feeling aggrieved as they believed they should have been awarded a penalty in the dying minutes, a potential scenario that could have eliminated the Azzurri. Coach Spalletti faced limited choices for a starting XI, particularly in the striker position, with Raspadori, Scamacca, and Moise Kean emerging as the only viable candidates for the role.
Securing a call-up to the squad for Euro 2024 will likely require a remarkable effort on Balotelli’s part to persuade Spalletti. The striker’s career has been a rollercoaster ride, featuring stints at prominent clubs such as AC Milan, Inter, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Marseille, among others.