Italian striker Mario Balotelli was handed a lifeline by former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini when he was recalled to the Italian squad and he justified that call-up with a goal against Saudi Arabia tonight.
Balotelli's last appearance came in the 2014 World Cup after 1-0 loss to Uruguay. Since then Antonio Conte, Gian Piero Ventura and Luigi Di Biagio all overlooked the 27-year-old. Yet Mancini, who worked with the mercurial striker at Inter Milan and Manchester City, recalled him after some strong form in Ligue 1.
Mario Balotelli scores on his return!!! Italy 1-0 Saudi Arabia pic.twitter.com/0AZV6OehAv
— Serie A News (@TransfersCalcio) May 28, 2018
The last think I would ever imagine was that I would get emotional and cry for a Balotelli goal during a friendly v Saudi Arabia
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 28, 2018
Balotelli scored 26 goals for Nice this season. He has recently been linked with a move to Napoli. His return comes as Italy try and rebuild from a failed World Cup qualification campaign. They will play friendlies against France and Netherlands next week before the Nations League later this year.