Mancini on Insigne’s Italy future and ‘desperate’ Balotelli call

by | Jan 26, 2022 13:56

Roberto Mancini insists Lorenzo Insigne and Luiz Felipe have a future with the Italy squad, while calling Mario Balotelli for World Cup play-offs is not ‘a sign of desperation.’

This get-together was called as a way for the coach to touch base with his existing players and view potential newcomers ahead of the World Cup play-offs in March.

They must get past North Macedonia first, then face either Portugal or Turkey for a spot at Qatar 2022.

“We’ll have two training sessions today and tomorrow, then a game between ranks on Friday morning,” explained Mancini in his press conference.

“We will test out some tactical solutions, as two days isn’t much to work, but perhaps it’s also right to evaluate those who hadn’t been called up in a while, such as Balotelli and others.

“The doors of the Nazionale are always open to everyone and if there are players who can help us, then we are happy.”

Mancini was asked if bringing back Adana Demirspor striker Balotelli after three years smacked of ‘desperation’ after Andrea Belotti’s injury and the poor Ciro Immobile form for Italy.

“If desperation is what we had before the Euros, then it worked for us… Perhaps we give our best when we are feeling a little desperate, but having said that, I don’t think this is a situation of desperation.

“Balotelli always did gave great technique, it’s just about seeing his physical fitness. We had rather lost sight of him recently, so seeing him up close for a couple of days can be much more helpful. We’re curious to see how he’s doing after a while and the best way of doing that is up close in training.

“He doesn’t need to promise us anything, just as we don’t make him any promises. I think he’s happy to be here and I will evaluate him the same as all the others, that is all.”

Considering Balotelli is getting a call-up despite playing his club football in Turkey, does that mean Insigne has a future with the Nazionale even after he moves to Toronto FC and MLS in July?

“I don’t know what Lorenzo will do. We have the games in March and June, he’ll still be here, then there’s a window in September and the World Cup, but talking about it now seems premature.”

Among the new faces called up this time are Cagliari striker Joao Pedro and Lazio defender Luiz Felipe, both recently securing Italian passports.

“Joao Pedro has been in Italy for many years, he has good technical qualities and if he’s here, it’s because he can do a job.

“We consider Luiz Felipe to be a great defender who can have a real future with the Italy squad.”


  1. Stam

    Go Azzurri

  2. Amol Ghadigaonkar

    If ITALY play to their full Potential, they will move past North Macedonia, easily and can beat Portugal with consistent Hard-work and by maintaining Urgency and Concentration for the full 90 Minutes.

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