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Wednesday October 10 2018
Mancini: 'Belotti and Balotelli will return'

Roberto Mancini assures Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti “will be recalled when they get back into shape” as Italy try a new trident.

The international friendly with Ukraine kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) in Genoa.

Despite injuries to Simone Zaza, Patrick Cutrone, Alessio Romagnoli and Danilo D’Ambrosio, Mancini refused to call in Torino hitman Belotti and Nice forward Balotelli.

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Monday October 8 2018
Mancini: Giovinco, Balotelli, Belotti...

Italy CT Roberto Mancini reveals he has been tracking Sebastian Giovinco ‘for a while’ but assures Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti will be back.

Giovinco is back in the Italy squad after three years away, having been exiled for his decision to play in MLS with Toronto FC, but Balotelli and Belotti were dropped for their lack of form and fitness.

“Giovinco’s been doing well for several years, he’s 31, we’d been monitored him for a while and we wanted to see him in the flesh,” Mancini said at a Press conference.

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Friday October 5 2018
Giovinco back in Italy squad

Sebastian Giovinco is back in the Italy squad after three years away, but Mario Balotelli and Andrea Belotti miss out.

Giovinco is finally rewarded for his blistering form with Toronto FC, where he has scored 82 goals in just 139 appearances.

The 31-year-old last played for Italy in October 2015, appearing for the final 28 minutes of Italy’s 2-1 win against Norway in Euro 2016 qualifying.

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Friday October 5 2018
Italy: Verratti in, Balotelli out?

Italy are expected to recall Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti but drop Nice striker Mario Balotelli when they name their latest squad on Friday.

Gazzetta dello Sport reports Verratti will be back after overcoming a thigh injury and should be joined by the similarly fit-again Alessandro Florenzi.

However, the newspaper warns Balotelli will not be included, the striker having also been left out of Nice’s squad to face Toulouse on Friday.

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Thursday October 4 2018
Balotelli dropped by Nice

Mario Balotelli has been dropped from the Nice squad, but Coach Patrick Vieira assures “I have no doubts about his desire”.

The Italian international missed most of pre-season due to a transfer saga involving Marseille, and appeared noticeably out of shape on his return.

Super Mario is yet to score this season, and has been dropped from the squad entirely for tomorrow’s Toulouse game.

“I’m expecting a lot from him, just like Dante and Christophe [Jallet],” Vieira said in his pre-match Press conference.

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Tuesday September 25 2018
Balotelli’s early training sessions

Mario Balotelli has been arriving for Nice training at 7.30am to get back to his best, according to reports in France.

The Italian international missed a huge chunk of pre-season, as he was in talks to join Marseille in a move which never materialised.

Super Mario looked out of shape playing for the Azzurri and in his first few matches for Nice, but Nice-Matin reports that he’s been arriving at the training ground at 7.30am in recent weeks, well before the rest of the squad.

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Saturday September 22 2018
Dante: 'No Balotelli excuses!'

Mario Balotelli was criticised by his Nice teammate Dante, who said “it’s up to him to step up and take charge, not blame the team.”

Nice suffered another Ligue 1 defeat to Montpellier this evening and Italy international Balo was in the starting XI after shaking off an injury, but made very little impact.

This riled teammate Dante, who told Canal+ that the time for excuses is over.

“It’s up to him to step up and take charge in attack, to take on some responsibility,” said Dante.

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Friday September 21 2018
Balotelli back for Nice

Italy striker Mario Balotelli is back in Nice’s squad to face Montpellier on Saturday.

Balotelli had been left out of Nice’s 2-1 win against Stade Rennais last Friday, amidst reports he was overweight and unfit.

However, the 28-year-old has been recalled by Patrick Vieira, who is going for a third straight win this weekend.

SuperMario has played just 76 minutes of competitive club football, as well as only an hour of Italy’s 1-1 draw with Poland during the international break.

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Saturday September 15 2018
Balotelli: 'Not fined for weight'

Mario Balotelli denied he was fined by Nice for being overweight and replied to critics with a sarcastic selfie.

The striker disappointed for Italy in their 1-1 draw with Poland for the Nations League last week.

He was left out of the squad to face Portugal three days later and not included when Nice took on Rennes in Ligue 1.

After reports he was fined by the French side for being overweight, SuperMario hit back on Instagram.

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Friday September 14 2018
Balotelli: ‘This is why I’m not in Serie A…’

Mario Balotelli responds to criticism of him - “there was a real and valid reason I didn’t want to return to Serie A…”

The Nice striker has been criticised after Italy’s draw with Poland, where he appeared overweight and struggled to get involved in the match.

Many have questioned why CT Roberto Mancini even started him, given that he didn’t have a full pre-season and has played less than 80 minutes of club football all season.

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