Mario Balotelli and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo thanked Italy’s President for reminding people “we are 100 per cent Italian.”
The Manchester City striker was born to Ghanaian parents in Palermo and adopted as a baby by the Balotelli family in Brescia.
Roma forward Osvaldo was born and raised in Argentina, but moved to Italy as a teenager and has relatives from Ancona.
Today the entire Italy squad went to the Quirinale in Rome for a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano, who said in a speech that the rules on citizenship ought to be changed.
Many children of immigrants born in Italy cannot have Italian passports until they turn 18, despite feeling “100 per cent” Italian.
“The President’s words really struck me. That was absolutely my story,” said Balotelli.
He wanted to play for Italy, but could not until he turned 18, as his adoption was never formalised.
Osvaldo also played for the Azzurri at Under-21 level and felt touched by this meeting.
“I feel 100 per cent Italian regardless of football and I’m not saying that because I play for the Nazionale,” added the Roma talent.
“As Italian citizens, we can bring a great deal to the country.”
Both Balotelli and Osvaldo are set to start tonight’s friendly against Uruguay at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.