Thursday October 12 2017
It’s time for Mario Balotelli

In an open letter to Giampiero Ventura, Luca LaPorta urges the Italy CT to call-up Mario Balotelli for the play-offs.

Dear Giampiero Ventura,

After a disappointing end to the World Cup 2018 Qualification stages, your Azzurri are now forced to play a qualifying two-legged play-off in November to determine their fate for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mr Ventura, this would be your first major tournament with the Azzurri, as the CT. Italy are one of the best and most popular football countries in the world and we’ve won the second most World Cups with four. Ventura, it’s time for change. The Azzurri faithful are fed up with constant lacklustre performances, terrible tactics, poor in-game management and omissions that make absolutely no sense. Now, with about a month to prepare for the play-off, it’s time to make the right selections. That starts with a certain centre-forward, and his name is Mario Balotelli.

With Andrea Belotti injured for the next two months and unavailable for the play-off, the forward depth is as thin as it can be, with Ciro Immobile as the only out and out striker. It’s time for Balotelli to get his chance with the new-look Azzurri. Having not been on the team since the match against Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup, this nonsense needs to come to an end, especially as the Nice striker has been scoring goals since the beginning of last season.

Enough with the lies, enough with saying you want players who perform for their clubs, because that clearly isn’t the case. We’re sick and tired of seeing players who ride the bench for their club teams get the call. We need players who have proven they’re in form, and Balotelli has deserved this selection for almost two years. The agenda against him needs to stop.

We’ve seen so many players have countless chances and underperform in several matches for the Azzurri, but still get called up and get the chance to shine again. However, Balotelli only scored exactly half Italy’s goals in the 2014 World Cup, and he never gets the opportunity to shine with the Azzurri again. Why?

Balotelli is not the same as he was four years ago. He’s now 27, and one of the leaders at Nice in Ligue 1. Sure, he’s caused some problems in the past, but I can list many players who had “attitude problems” as well and still got chances for the Azzurri -  Antonio Cassano to name one. Balotelli hasn’t caused any problems in France and has become a fan favourite there as well. Ventura, it’s time. Enough of the games, Balotelli is a player that can change a game by himself because of his natural technical ability. He’s stressed many times to the media and his social media that he wants to be playing for the Azzurri. Enough of guys like Eder, Roberto Inglese, even Manolo Gabbiadini getting called up and seeing minutes. Balotelli has 7 goals in 525 minutes of action, which is a fantastic ratio.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Balotelli ever since he took the Euro 2012 by storm, with his overhead goal against Ireland, header and screaming goal to the top right corner against the Germans. He’s done it on the big stage at a young age, and he’s ready to do it again.

Yes, many have their opinions about Balotelli. Many claim that he’s not good for the dressing room and causes problems. Those were issues that he might’ve had - though the media always exaggerated them - five or six years ago. With the Azzurri in the state that they’re in, we need players that are capable. Ventura, if you fail to qualify for the World Cup, this will be a disgrace to you, to Italy and the rest of the fans. You’d live in infamy for years, it would be an embarrassment, a vergogna.

Balotelli is needed in this team. A partnership between Ciro Immobile and Balotelli could be very effective and will hopefully push us through to the World Cup.

Ventura, make the right choice. We need Super Mario Balotelli.

Have your say...
The only loser turned out to be you. Considering the rest of the world won, when the dead nazionale, lost.

As I said, Buffoon and the rest of the idiot millionaires can limp* back to their corpse of a dead league and comfort themselves with another meaningless frying pan.
on the 1st December, 2017 at 11:50pm
Does anyone know what balotelli did wrong in the 2014 world cup, its been 4 years and no one has been able to give me an actuality not even the players who turned against him. I think its because he actually didn't do anything wrong!
on the 16th November, 2017 at 4:21am
HAHAHAH all the balotelli haters repeating talking point from 4 years ago. I said this all over the internet, if you dont bring balotelli in you will not go to the world cup...balotelli would have taken Italy to the world cup, balotelli would have help italy win the last Euro, the italian hate and racism has done them in!
on the 16th November, 2017 at 12:29am


hahaha Balotelli and Giovinco, the great swirling hope of the nazionale.

I hope Sweden destroys Italy and our humiliated players limb back to their corpse of a league (Serie deAd) and its crumbling stadiums.

on the 7th November, 2017 at 4:52pm
Italy five strikers should:

Berardi and chiesa need to be called up.
on the 23rd October, 2017 at 4:48am
He may help, but I think what needs to happen is for Italy to not qualify and that just may the catalyst of the federation and the owners of the league for change. We were out in the first round in the last two world cups and nothing has changed. Quite frankly, I don't think they will beat Sweden. There are just too many 'stranieri' in the league and when there are 3 Italians on the field, including the referee, that is a real concern for developing a national team.
on the 22nd October, 2017 at 9:33pm

The guy who wrote that letter cannot have watched a single Nice match in the French league over the last two seasons!!

Mario is simply AWFUL, Stupid Mario would have no place in any 2nd rate national team let alone Italy!

Football-Italia should not even consider publishing such a moronic appreciation of a player and team.
on the 21st October, 2017 at 6:41pm
hahaha Balotelli and Giovinco, the great swirling hope of the nazionale.

I hope Sweden destroys Italy and our humiliated players limb back to their corpse of a league (Serie deAd) and its crumbling stadiums.
on the 18th October, 2017 at 10:25pm
Can you say cancer? No way.. this guy is a waste of space.. Belotti is better than him anyway.. oe striker is all you need... Ciro can back him up.
on the 18th October, 2017 at 4:57pm
If Ventura does not select Balotelli and shake up the system; mark my words, we will not qualify for the World Cup and further sink into mediocrity. The best thing that can happen is if Ventura and Tavecchio are removed from their positions immediately. It won't happen, so I'm hoping for at least a Balotelli call-up!
on the 15th October, 2017 at 9:03pm
Balotelli should be picked. He has 5 league goals. How many does Eder have? Simple? So to Guovinco. Is Serie A that superior to other leagues? Both can change a game n they have done at I level. Italy prob wouldn't have beaten Norway in Euro Q if not for Seba! I'd still give Gabbiadini a chance. Great left foot. Bonaventura, Florenzi now they r back too. Chiesa, Cutrone could be fazed in if Italy reach the WC! Berna if he settles at Juve n Insigne could do more too. CT should pick the players!?
on the 15th October, 2017 at 5:22am
2 years you say? Do your homework better. He's played well for a season only. He's performing at a mid tier club were his poor attitude and laziness on the pitch is accepted. This notion that Balotelli was some world class player has always been greatly over played. Minus his pens he is 1 in 5 striker. He drops deep thinking he has the creative ability to be effective. His arrogance stops him for being potentially a top level striker. He dug his own grave after being given countless chances.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 5:14am
I would bet on Balo because he's got something to prove. Motivation is a powerful thing, especially for a striker.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 9:02pm
There are two reasons why Balotelli is not playing for the Azzurri. The first is Carlo Tavecchio and the second is that Ventura lacks a set of balls to call him up and upset his master Tavecchio. Ventura is a puppet and plays the political safe game so that he will be considered for a coaching job in serie A after he is done with the Azzurri. If he calls on Balo he will probably anger a few higher ups off, and he will also be thought of differently by owners that would potential consider him.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 3:46pm
@ Beppe Rossi

Let's be honest here. Giovinco didn't rally get a real chance to show his worth at Juve.

What led to his downfall was that he complained a lot about being benched.
Not to mention that he was competing for the same spot as a certain Del Piero.

I would definitely take Giovinco over Eder any day of the week.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 1:28pm
The current Azzurri attack is awful plain and simple. At this rate we will be lucky to score 1 goal in the playoffs. We need Giovinco in the attack, but sadly I do not see this happening.

For this reason, we could use Balo up front. Guys really, it cant get any worse.

I hope Belotti gets healthy, but this appears to be a big IF.

Immobile runs to open spaces and just hides beyond defenders. Zaza (the penalty need I say more), Gaba=yaWN. Eder...geez its sad.

Whom else - Cutrone Chiesa
on the 14th October, 2017 at 12:34am
Simple response to this ridiculous article is...... NO. We don't need him. Stop making him more important than he is. He is a menace, creates unrest, is unstable and vanishes in big games. Before some bright sparks come on here trying to remind us of his goal against Germany in 2012 think of all the rubbish between that 2012 game and his last game and NO i am not racist just bored of the Balo soap opera and the fact we made an average player bigger than he ever should have been. Move on
on the 14th October, 2017 at 12:03am
If anyone watched Seba at Juve and saw his performances, there was a reason he was relegated to the bench, and then left. MLS has you all fooled.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 11:51pm
It's just like Italy to abandon players when they are needed most! Balo for all his faults
has matured and deserves a chance to help this team, Giovinco regardless of playing in a lessor league has been the best player in that league for the last few years! Italy should know what he brings game in game out and honest effort, unlike others called up you will not see Giovinco give up on the field, Now is the time to include italy's forgotten, both can bring something badly needed to this team
on the 13th October, 2017 at 5:00pm
We are down and out up front! Belloti is hurt this team needs Balo for better or worse and this team needs a Giovo spark! Giovo can come into games off the bench he's better than the dormant insigne that we keep using, these options would bring us much needed speed to our line up and inspire the veterans as they can no longer hold the fort for italy, not bringing these 2 at this moment is unforgivable, and yes Ventura would be regarded and Vergona for the rest of his miserable existence!!
on the 13th October, 2017 at 4:51pm
It's time for Santa Claus. Come on people, Balo had his chance. I don't consider him a game changer at this point. Give the Atomic Ant a shot instead. No need to explain what he can do. Oh btw, Ventura is a moron.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 3:48pm
I'd like to see us be bold and don't have a problem with Balo or dare I say Cutrone being added to the mix . more important will be adding Pellegrini and Verratti and if our " future " Bomber Belotti could make it looks unlikely I know but if he was available we beat any of these opponents easily.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 12:56pm
Thanks, but no thanks.

I like Balotelli, and I think he's very talented. And I believe that he has some issues that made him act the way he did throughout his career.
But he is not what Italy needs right now.

The team needs calm.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 12:47pm
Even if we get through the play-offs,with Ventura we will be lucky to get through the first group of the World Cup.Yet another embarassing world cup exit awaits us.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 10:00am
Pretty obvious Balo should have been called up before and now with players out we def have to bring him in.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 9:58am
If balotelli has developed so much as a player why was he so awful against napoli why is plea and saint max so much more effective as forward options. It is ridiculous why not look at giovinco he has been tearing it up in the mls for a couple of seasons now. Why trust a critical match to a player who has shown repeatedly that he can't meet the challenge. Why does any national coach have to hand hold a player through a competition because he doesn't have the right mentality.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 8:33am
Is it possible that the players we have in general are not up to par? Balotelli saving Italy is a joke. He is garbage. has been since 2012. This team needs to play to their strength, deploy an 3-5-2 , which covers an ailing defense, and hope that one of immobile , eder, insigne can nick a goal. Simple. Effective. Proven. Only when we get the likes of Totti, Maldini, Pirlo, Baggio. Vieri, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Materazzi, Camoranesi, again will we be able to really compete. Balotelli, seriously??
on the 13th October, 2017 at 7:54am
mino riola must be getting desperate to write open letters to football italia
on the 13th October, 2017 at 7:31am
This reads like an angry diatribe, which is typical of this opinion based website. The only thing pathetic is the way this article is written by a fanboy who just wants the flashy players and we'll marketed names in the team. The shot at Manolo Gabbiadini says it all. Another Football Italia employee who needs to mature & learn the sport before spouting their opinion which they think is superior to everyone else's. Nonsense. This website as become unreadable.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 6:04am
Italy will not qualify for the world cup as long as we have this idiot as a manager, the problem is not the players the problem is the manager and the formation and to prove my point (antonio conte) beat Spain not long ago with the same players. if venture will have any chance of making it to the world cup this is what he need to do:
change formation to 4-3-1-2
Buffon,Zappacosta,Bonucci,Chiellini,Spinazzola,De Rossi,
on the 13th October, 2017 at 5:46am

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