Italian football chief: Conte is open to Balotelli

Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio insists that national team coach Antonio Conte has nothing against Liverpool's Mario Balotelli.

Mario Balotelli was left out of Antonio Conte's Italy squad after a tough start to life at Liverpool, but Italy's football chief is adamant that Conte will consider him in future.

It has been suggested that Conte isn't a fan of Balotelli and may cut him out of the Italian national set-up in the long term, but the former Juventus boss has always insisted each player will be selected on merit rather than attitude.

In Balotelli's absence, Italy looked far from lethal against Azerbaijan and Malta. They needed two goals from defender Giorgio Chiellini to see off Azerbajian while Graziano Pelle helped them to an unimpressive 1-0 win over Malta.

The lack of goals against two relatively weak sides may give Balotelli a national lifeline and Italian FA boss Carlo Tavecchio insists he has as good a chance as anyone.

"Conte has nothing against Balotelli," he said. "Like everyone else he just has to show that he is on form.

"We certainly need people of that stature. We want to repair our battered ranking at the Euro."

Italy's next engagement is against Croatia on November 16 and will see Conte's side attempt to maintain their 100 percent Euro 2016 qualification record.

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