Mancini’s mother argues for Balotelli after Italy’s World Cup win

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Roberto Mancini will search for answers after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup, and his mother has helpfully given one: Mario Balotelli should have been called up.

In a speech on Rai Radio 1 on Friday, Marianna Puolo said Mancini’s Azzurri would have benefited from Balotelli’s power and his inclusion could have averted what was happening in Palermo, where Italy lost 1-0 to northern Macedonia.

Balotelli, a one-time teenage prodigy who now plays for Adana Demirspor in Turkey’s Super League, has long been a favorite of Mancini’s as they date back to their time together as a player and coach at Inter and Manchester City.

Now 31 years old, Balotelli received a recall to an Italian training camp earlier this year. He had not been out of Italy since head coach Mancini played against him three times in 2018, which followed after four years of absence from the national team.

However, there was no place for Balotelli in Italy’s squad for the World Cup finals, and the semi-final defeat to northern Macedonia means that the four-time champions will miss this year’s finals in Qatar, just as they were absent in Russia four. years ago.

“We had played in our hand, but the attack was not great,” said Mancini’s mother.

“What would I have done differently? I would have called Balotelli because he has incredible physical strength and no one stops him in front of goal.

“Sometimes he does stupid things, but I would have called him.”

Italy had 32 shots but could not find a goal against Northern Macedonia, who had four and hit the back of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net in stoppage time, which broke Italian hearts.

Puolo agreed with his son’s verdict after the match that he would be hit by the biggest disappointment of his career.

“Yes, because in his career he has more or less always done well,” she said. “I heard him this morning, he was sad, but we know these things happen in sports.”

Jorginhos missed a penalty kick in the 90th minute of 1-1 against Switzerland in Italy’s penultimate group game qualifier which ultimately proved very costly. Had he hidden it away, Italy probably would not have needed an endgame.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho also missed from the spot in the first match against Switzerland, which also ended in a draw.

Mancini’s mother pronounced her sentence on Jorginho, saying: “Of course he did not do it on purpose, poor thing, but if you miss two or three penalties, you will ultimately pay for it.”

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