Mario Balotelli 'disappointed' at Italy snub, says he deserves another chance

Posted Saturday, March 31, 2018 by ESPN

Mario Balotelli has admitted he was disappointed not to be called into the latest Italy squad, but he says he is now mature enough to respond in the right way and try to earn a recall in the near future.

The Nice striker was left out of Luigi Di Biagio's squad for the recent friendlies with Argentina and England, in spite of his excellent form in Ligue 1.

Balotelli, 27, has scored 22 goals in 31 games so far this season, but found himself overlooked while AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone earned a first call and Torino's Andrea Belotti was included despite having been injured and lacking form this season.

"I had been hoping [to be called up] because I felt I deserved it," Balotelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I'm 27 now and I'm more mature, thanks to my children, and I've stopped hooking up with girls."

Mario Balotelli 'disappointed' at Italy snub, says he deserves another chance
Mario Balotelli joined Nice from Liverpool in 2016.

Balotelli last pulled on an Italy shirt during Italy's ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign.

He is expected to leave Nice at the end of the season and, while he says Ligue 1 is "10 times more physically demanding" than Serie A, a move back to Italy or even to an English club is expected to be his next step.

He would not reveal where he expects to go, though, limiting himself to saying: "let's just say I'm somebody who lives on the borderline."

Balotelli will hope to prove he can deliver at the highest level as he tries to force his way back into the national team in the run-up to Euro 2020.

Di Biagio will find out on May 20, according to the Italian Football Federation's (FIGC) sub-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta, whether he will be given the Italy job on a full-time basis, or whether Balotelli will have to wait for the call for June's internationals from somebody else.

Former Inter Milan and Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini is the bookmakers' favourite to be appointed Italy's next coach.

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