Roberto Mancini Challenges Balotelli to Reclaim Italian National Team Spot

Italy national team manager Roberto Mancini has challenged Mario Balotelli to reclaim his place in the Italian national team. The controversial striker has become something of a forgotten man, but he is still in the prime of his career at 28 years of age. After having come through the youth ranks at Inter Milan, his immense talent earned him a move to Manchester City where he was united with Mancini. The three years at Etihad Stadium was quite interesting for Balotelli, who clearly had the talent for becoming one of the greatest players but he was let down by his detrimental attitude.

Since then, he has represented clubs like AC Milan, Liverpool, and Nice. Recently, he made the switch to Marseille and has made a major impact by scoring three goals in just four games for the team. These goals for the French team, who are challenging for a European spot, has made Balotelli hit the headlines after several years. The striker made his debut for the Italian national team back in 2010 and he has since featured in 36 games for Italy. His return of 14 goals in these matches is quite good for a forward. Mancini does not appear to have forgotten his great ties with Balotelli and has challenged the striker to make a return to national team football.

“"We haven't lost sight of anyone. Mario is part of the group. He knows that well and he also knows that it depends on him“, not me. So far he's played little. [On Sunday] he played only his second game in months. But if he scores consistently between now and the end of March, maybe he could come back,” said Mancini. "He deserves to be here, despite his age. He is playing well, scoring goals and is one of the top-scorers [in Serie A]," “Mancini said of Quagliarella,“ who has been scoring for fun in the Italian Serie A at 36.