Mario Balotelli Set For Italy Recall After Four-Year Absence
Mario Balotelli is in line for a return to the Italy national team fold.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker has not featured for his country for nearly four years - with his last outing being the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in the World Cup in 2014, where he played 46 minutes and was blamed for Italy's failings.
Both Antonio Conte and Gian Piero Ventura didn't fancy him and elected not to pick him for the Azzurri.
Ventura was given the boot after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, with Under 21 boss Luigi Di Biagio taking the reins on a temporary basis until a permanent replacement comes in.
WATCH: Balotelli's maddest moments:
That means he will be picking the squad for upcoming friendlies against Argentina at the Etihad Stadium, and England at Wembley Stadium.
And according to Corriere Dello Sport, Balotelli will be brought back into the side for the two fixtures, the first of which will be at his old stomping ground, where he played after signing for Manchester City in 2010.
Mario Balotelli will reportedly be recalled to the Italy squad for the March friendlies.- Team FA (@TeamFA) February 8, 2018
THE KING IS BACK :crown::flag_it: pic.twitter.com/lKRZ0c5EgW
Balotelli's form this season has been excellent and already surpassed his Nice tally from last season. The 26-year old netted 17 in all competitions last term, but has blown that out of the water by scoring 19 this season - including 13 in Ligue One.
Impressively, his disciplinary has improved as he's been sent off just once so far.
Prior to his exile from the squad, Balotelli scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for Italy after making his senior bow in 2010.
In other Italy squad news, Gianluigi Buffon is also expected to be part of the squad for the games on English soil. It was thought the legendary Juventus shotstopper had played his final game when Italy lost to Sweden over two legs, prompting emotional scenes.
But the prayers of all football fans have been answered, as it seems he's not done just yet. Di Biagio wants him and around the camp before Italy usher in a completely new era.
Featured Image Credit: Getty