Mario Balotelli strongly motivated by being overlooked for the Italian national team
Regardless of two months of strong play with Nice, Mario Balotelli remains avoided from Italy's national team, in view of his previous history, as a difficult personality, both on and off the field. Because of that, Balotelli has been without a match for his national team, since the 2014 World Cup. His last appearance for Italy came when the Azzurri were eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup.
Balotelli stated: "If I am ok, I can play anywhere. If I have not been picked with Italy, it means that I must do more. Tonight I have not picked myself but I will only go as a fan. Then I will talk with Ventura and we will see. If he has not picked me, he will have his reasons and that is not an issue. I am working and I keep focusing on my club. When he picks me I will be happy. But today there is no problem, there will be somebody who is fitter or better than me. Belotti is good, he is scoring and he deserves to be there."
Ventura stated: "It is not due to technical reasons that Balotelli is not on the national team. He has great skills. Nobody is debating his technical abilities. Rather it is a thousand other factors. He is been back in form for two months now but you can not think that in two months somebody has changed who they are."
The Italian coach has been relying on Serie A's top-scoring Italians, Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile, in the latest fixture, against Liechtenstein. Immobile has scored nine goals in 12 matches for Lazio this season, while Belotti has eight in 10 for Torino. Simone Zaza and Lorenzo Insigne, without a single goal for West Ham and Napoli respectively, were Ventura's back up strikers, in the latest squad. Italy are sitting second in Group G, leader is Spain, one point ahead of Albania and Israel, while Macedonia and Liechtenstein are last with zero points.
At 26 years-old, Balotelli conceivably has numerous more years as a top player, but he must manage to keep up the good run.