From the Bench to the National Squad: Balotelli’s Long-Awaited Return to Italy

Mario Balotelli Makes Triumphant Return to Italian National Team

Italian striker Mario Balotelli has been called back to the Italian national team after a remarkable performance in Turkey. The 31-year-old forward, who had been absent from the Azzurri for almost four years, has earned a spot in Roberto Mancini’s plans for Italy’s upcoming training camp in January. The camp will serve as preparation for the crucial World Cup playoffs scheduled for March.

A Long-Awaited Return

Throughout his career, Balotelli has accumulated 36 appearances for the national team since his debut in 2010. Known for his charismatic playing style and goal-scoring prowess, Balotelli has already netted 14 goals while wearing the Azzurri jersey. Although his last international appearance was in May 2018, Balotelli’s impressive performance in Turkey has reignited the interest of the national team selectors.

Thriving in Turkey

After leaving his mark on clubs like Manchester City, Inter, and AC Milan, Balotelli had a short stint at Monza in his home country during the previous season. However, the prolific striker sought a change of scenery and joined Adana Demirspor, a newly-promoted Turkish Super Lig club. Since the start of the campaign, Balotelli has showcased his skills, scoring nine goals in 21 games. It is this impressive form that caught Roberto Mancini’s attention and led to his inclusion in the national team for the upcoming training camp.

Preparing for World Cup Playoffs

Roberto Mancini, Italy’s coach, seized the opportunity provided by the international break to gather a 35-man squad for the training camp. The purpose of this brief get-together is to prepare the Italian national side for the vital World Cup playoffs in March. Italy, as the reigning Euro 2020 champions, faces the challenge of overcoming tough opponents on their path to securing a ticket to the World Cup in Qatar.

The Hurdles Ahead

In order to secure their World Cup qualification, Italy needs to navigate through multiple challenges. First, they must overcome North Macedonia before facing the winner between Portugal and Turkey. These matches are expected to be highly competitive and will put Italy’s skills and determination to the test. Placing second in their World Cup qualifying group, just behind Switzerland, Italy understands the significance of these upcoming games and the need for top-notch performance.

New Additions to the Squad

In addition to Balotelli’s return, Roberto Mancini has also decided to hand first-time calls to Luiz Felipe from Lazio and Joao Pedro from Cagliari. Born in Brazil, both players have represented their native country at the youth level but are now set to become part of Italy’s set-up. The inclusion of these talented individuals demonstrates Mancini’s willingness to explore fresh options and strengthen the team’s lineup for the challenges ahead.

The Favorable Odds

As the qualification journey unfolds, Italy finds itself as the second-favorite in Path C of the World Cup playoffs, just behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. With favorable odds of +100, Italy has a strong chance of securing their place in the prestigious tournament. However, they should not underestimate the competition, as Turkey now stands at +1200, and North Macedonia at +5000. The stage is set for an exciting battle to claim a spot in the World Cup.

A Talented Squad Ready for Action

The Italian national team will rely on a talented squad to achieve their World Cup aspirations. The provisional squad for the training camp is as follows:


  • Marco Carnesecchi (Cremonese)
  • Alessio Cragno (Cagliari)
  • Alex Meret (Napoli)
  • Salvatore Sirigu (Genoa)


  • Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)
  • Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina)
  • Davide Calabria (Milan)
  • Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
  • Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus)
  • Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli)
  • Alessandro Florenzi (Milan)
  • Luiz Felipe (Lazio)
  • Gianluca Mancini (Roma)
  • Luca Pellegrini (Juventus)
  • Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta)
  • Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)


  • Nicolo Barella (Inter)
  • Bryan Cristante (Roma)
  • Nicolo Fagioli (Cremonese)
  • Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo)
  • Manuel Locatelli (Juventus)
  • Matteo Pessina (Atalanta)
  • Samuele Ricci (Empoli)
  • Stefano Sensi (Inter)
  • Sandro Tonali (Milan)


  • Mario Balotelli (Adana Demirspor)
  • Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)
  • Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus)
  • Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
  • Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
  • Joao Pedro (Cagliari)
  • Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)
  • Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo)
  • Mattia Zaccagni (Lazio)
  • Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma)


Mario Balotelli’s return to the Italian national team after a long absence has sparked excitement among fans and pundits alike. With his remarkable performances in Turkey, Balotelli has once again caught the attention of the selectors and earned a place in Roberto Mancini’s plans for Italy’s upcoming training camp. As the Euro 2020 champions prepare for the World Cup playoffs, their journey will be filled with challenges, including facing tough opponents and overcoming competitive odds. Nonetheless, with a talented squad at their disposal, Italy stands ready to give their all and secure their ticket to the prestigious World Cup in Qatar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long was Mario Balotelli absent from the Italian national team?

Mario Balotelli was absent from the Italian national team for almost four years before his recent return at the upcoming training camp.

2. How many goals has Balotelli scored for the Italian national team?

Balotelli has scored 14 goals while representing the Italian national team throughout his career.

3. Which clubs did Balotelli play for before joining Adana Demirspor?

Before joining Adana Demirspor, Balotelli played for notable clubs such as Manchester City, Inter, AC Milan, and Monza.

4. What is the purpose of Italy’s training camp in January?

The training camp in January serves as preparation for Italy’s crucial World Cup playoffs scheduled for March.

5. Who are Italy’s main opponents in their path to World Cup qualification?

Italy needs to overcome North Macedonia and then face the winner between Portugal and Turkey on their path to securing a spot in the World Cup.

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