La Gazzetta: Balotelli set for Italy snub


La Gazzetta dello Sport predicts that Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli will be left out of Italy's squad to face Azerbaijan and Malta.

Mario Balotelli may be facing a period of international exile under new Italy coach Antonio Conte, according to the Italian press.

Conte took over the Azzurri after Cesare Prandelli resigned following a disappointing World Cup campaign which saw Italy put their trust in Balotelli.

Former Juventus boss Conte is reported to be less of an admirer of Balotelli and given Super Mario's less than super form at Liverpool, the former AC Milan striker may be out in the cold.

Balotelli was suspended when Conte selected his last squad to face Norway and in his absence Sassuolo striker Simone Zaza delivered alongside Ciro Immobile.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Conte will snub Balotelli and hand a call to Graziano Pellè, who has been on magnificent form for Southampton.

Torino striker Fabio Quagliarella and Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco may both be handed places.

It is almost inevitable that Under-21 rising defensive star Daniele Rugani, who is co-owned by Empoli and Juventus, will get a chance after he wasn't selected for the Under-21 squad.

With Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi injured, Conte is expected to call Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta, but he could also use Fiorentina's ex-Liverpool man Alberto Aquilani, who scored in the Europa League against Dinamo Minsk last night.

Italy will expect to have little trouble with Azerbaijan and Malta in their Euro 2016 qualifiers.

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