Monday March 19 2018
Di Biagio: Buffon will play, Balotelli…

Luigi Di Biagio confirms Gianluigi Buffon will play in at least one of Italy’s friendlies but claims Mario Balotelli must do more than score goals.

Di Biagio named his first Italy squad on Saturday, which saw Buffon called up, despite his 40 years and the emergence of younger goalkeepers, and Balotelli’s prolific form with Nice still not earn him a place in the national team.

“Gigi’s a monument and is here not only to unify the team but also play and give something more,” the caretaker said at a Press conference ahead of the Azzurri’s friendlies against England and Argentina.

“He’s an added value for us, both on and off the field. He’ll play a game or two, I don’t know for sure, but I’ll assess him throughout his time here.

“However, we have two others here who are also ready to take his place when he grows a little older…

“Donnarumma is a great goalkeeper but became weaker in the eyes of many after he made a mistake, while I had Perin with the Under-20s.

“No Balotelli? I’ve already explained that numbers are very clear for strikers, but they must be seasoned with certain performances.

“I’ve watched, evaluated and decided players, and I think I picked the best team possible. That’s how it is right now, but I won’t close the door on anyone.”

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