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Balotelli left out of Italy squad by Mancini


Rome (AFP) – Mario Balotelli was not included in Roberto Mancini’s squad on Friday for Italy’s final Euro 2020 qualifiers, despite the president of the country’s football federation (FIGC) calling for him to be selected.

After Balotelli was the victim of racist abuse by Verona fans while playing for Brescia last weekend, FIGC boss Gabriele Gravina said calling up the striker would send “an extraordinary message”.

But the 29-year-old missed out on a return to the international fold for the first time in a year.

Balotelli has scored two goals in six league appearances since returning to Italy with Brescia after a spell at French club Marseille.

He has found the net 14 times in 36 international appearances since making his Azzurri debut in 2010.

Italy, who have already qualified for next year’s European Championship, face Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 15 before hosting Armenia three days later.

Mancini has handed maiden call-ups to Brescia defender Andrea Cistana, Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli and Bologna forward Riccardo Orsolini.

Italy squad

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Cristiano Biraghi (Inter Milan), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Andrea Cistana (Brescia), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea/ENG), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Armando Izzo (Torino), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma)

Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Jorginho (Chelsea/ENG), Rolando Mandragora (Udinese), Marco Verratti (Paris SG/FRA), Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma)

Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Stephan El Shaarawy (Shanghai Shenhua/CHN), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna)

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