Mario Balotelli has been left of of Antonio Conte’s Italy squad to face Azerbaijan and Malta in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Antonio Conte took over the Italian national side from coach Cesare Prandelli after the 2014 FIFA world cup and have since frozen the Ghanian born super Mario out of the team.
Coach conte has however replaced him with in-form Southampton striker Graziano Pelle. Since his move to Southampton, Pelle has scored four goals in seven league matches so far. Pelle was also phenomenal for Feyenoord last season scoring 23goals in 28 matches for the dutch outfit though he was overlooked by coach Prandelli for Italy’s world cup campaign in Brazil.
Balotelli moved to Liverpool from AC Milan in a £16m deal in the summer but has struggled to find his form. He is yet to score a single goal in the league and has only gotten just one goal in all competition for Liverpool so far. His over-all play has not been impressive either.
The 24-year-old was also left out of Italy’s friendly with Netherland in September which Italy won 2-0 courtesy a Ciro Immobile’s third minute strike and De Rossi’s 10th minute penalty. He was not also among the squad that beat Norway few days later in a Euro 2016 qualifiers, a game where Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza worked well as the forward pairing.
His current omission from the national side is however unconnected to his form over the months. Mario was not all gun and blazing while in Milan and his move to Liverpool has not yet seen him play at the level we all know him for. He is a striker that can terrorise defence with his pace, skills and eye for goal but he looks short on confidence this days.
One will begin to ask where this omission leaves Super Mario with regards to his international career. Liverpool fans will be asking if Mario is the right man for the club especially after the sale of Luis Suarez. Is Mario’s career really progressing or retrogressing.
The man that has the right answers to these questions is Mario himself. He should become his self critics. He should ask himself what he really want in football. At 24, he is at the age where he need to be playing the best football of his life. His off-field antics and controversies should be a thing of the past.
Once dubbed as one of the best forward around and seen as a future Ballon D’or during his early days, Mario is a player with immense skills and abilities. Very strong and athletic, can take on defenders with his pace and trickery, has great eye for goal and aggressive when need be.
Mario Balotelli should settle himself down and work hard on his games. He has played in the Epl before and knows the league well. There is always a moment where strikers look to have lost their scoring touch and this is just a blip in his football career as he will get to his scoring best if he keeps working hard and refuse to be distracted.
If he rediscovers his form, I believe he still has a place in the Azzuri’s side. Italy play Azerbaijan on Friday in Palermo and travels to face Malta three days latter. They are currently joint leader of group H of the Euro 2016 qualifiers with Bulgaria and Spain.