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Balotelli gets recalled to Italy squad

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For the first time since the World Cup, Mario Balotelli is part of the Italy squad for the upcoming international break.

Claudio Villa

Ever since the Italian national team failed their way out of the World Cup group stage, the Azzurri have been rather experimental under new manager Antonio Conte. The former Juventus boss has been tinkering with several different groups of personnel trying to find his best squad for Italy, but so far hadn't found a place for Mario Balotelli in his side.

After much drama and disappointment for Balo with his national side over the last couple of years, Conte wanted the striker to "prove" that he belonged in his side. Apparently Conte has seen what he was looking for from the Liverpool striker, as despite some lackluster form from Balotelli in he last few weeks, he was named in Conte's Italy side today for the upcoming international break.

Balotelli is one of five strikers in this month's Italy squad, likely jostling for one of two starting spots with Ciro Immobile of Borussia Dortmund and Graziano Pelle of Southampton. Immobile holds the edge as Conte is more familiar with him, as well as having some success with Italy during the last two international windows. The other spot will most likely go to a smaller, more dynamic attacker in Sebastian Giovinco or Simone Zaza.

Italy will play Croatia in a Euro 2016 qualifier on November 16th at the San Siro in Milan, then face Albania in a friendly on the 18th in Genoa. The match against Albania feels like the more likely of the two for Balotelli to play a major role role in, as the non-competitive nature of the match will allow Conte to be more experimental rather than focus on getting a result in a group qualifier.