Mario Balotelli returns to take back the national spotlight

Italian journalist Luca Galdi previews Italy's World Cup Qualifier tonight, discussing the return of the most talked about man in football, Manchester City's Mario Balotelli.

Super Mario is healed from the temperature that saw him sit out Friday night's match against Armenia - which Italy won 3-1, and he is ready to come back to the starting line-up against Denmark tomorrow night.

In the Italian national team there is an enthusiastic atmosphere not only for the return of the Manchester City player.

The ‘troop’ trained by Prandelli wants to start from its second half against Armenia in which Italy seemed to be back to the team that showed a great game in the last European Championships.

“I saw desire, determination and right mindset”, Prandelli said after the match, and Italy must restart from that mentality.

It is another test of maturity for the number 45 because every time that Mario plays with his national team he has to quieten down his superstar status. The ‘Blue shirt’ is often therapeutic for ‘Balo’ who seems to be another player with his national teammates.

Mario’s forward partner will be Osvaldo, a man that with blue shirt is living a magic moment after tasting the bench in the last game of Roma.

There are concerns about the condition of Buffon because of an abdominal problem. The number one of Juventus could yet be available but Napoli's Morgan De Sanctis is ready for the call. 

The competition between goalkeepers has already sparked the usual controversy in Italy because on Saturday there will be the match for the ‘Serie A’ leadership between Napoli and Juventus.

Chiellini also returns and he will be in the starting line-up at the centre of the defence with Barzagli, while on the wings the Azzurri could see Abate on the right and Balzaretti on the opposite side, instead of Maggio and Criscito.

The midfield is confirmed with Andrea Pirlo in the middle, De Rossi and Marchisio at his sides and Montolivo behind the strikers.

It will be not an easy game for Italy against Denmark, who will have Juventus loanee Nicklas Bendtner up front. The game is notable for the return of Balotelli at San Siro stadium after his adventure with Inter.

Mario's last appearance at San Siro was on May 9, 2010 (Inter-Chievo 4-3, and Balotelli scored). It will be another test for Super Mario, yet another demonstration that the Italian striker is always controversial, but perhaps Italy would prefer him not to be, just once at least.

image: © warrenski

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