Last Update 15:54
Sunday, 20 October 2019

Balotelli must change for Italy future, says coach

AFP , Wednesday 7 Jun 2017
"Balotelli can't just come back into the squad but must be a major player -- he can't just make up the numbers, he needs to be a reference," Italy coach Giampiero ventura said of Mario Balotelli, pictured May 14, 2017 (AFP)
Views: 1302
Views: 1302

Mario Balotelli has "a choice to make" if he wants to resurrect his international career, Italy coach Giampiero Ventura said on Tuesday.

Ventura has never picked the controversial Nice forward since taking over the Italy reins following Euro 2016.

And even though the Azzurri are playing Uruguay in Nice on Wednesday, where Balotelli has just enjoyed a successful season, the notorious combustible striker will play no part.

"It's not a technical problem, but something else," said Ventura when asked why he hadn't picked Balotelli.

"I've never coached him personally, but others have had problems with him."

Ventura said he liked Balotelli and even spent time with him after watching the 26-year-old score in Nice's 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in April.

"I was clear, it was a three, four-hour meeting, very pleasant, we did a 360-degree tour of that question.

"Balotelli can't just come back into the squad but must be a major player -- he can't just make up the numbers, he needs to be a reference."

Ventura added: "In a World Cup year, Balotelli must make a choice."

Balotelli has scored 13 times in 33 international appearances but hasn't played for Italy since featuring in a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay that saw the Azzurri eliminated during the group stages of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

However, he was in fine form this season, scoring 15 Ligue 1 goals for Nice and helping the south coast club to finish third and qualify for next season's Champions League play-off round -- a first for the club.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.