Mancini to talk to Mario Balotelli about Italy return

FILE - In this Wednesday Dec. 21, 2011 file photo Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini, right, issues instructions to Italian stiker Mario Balotelli during the team's 3-0 win over Stoke in their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England. Roberto Mancini has been confirmed as Italy's new coach, the Italian football federation made the announcement late Monday, May 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

ROME — Italy coach Roberto Mancini says he will talk to long-excluded striker Mario Balotelli about a possible return to the national team.

Speaking at his presentation in Florence on Tuesday, Mancini says "Mario is an Italian player. We'll definitely talk. He's one of those players we should take a new look at."

Balotelli has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, but he featured under Mancini at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.

Mancini is replacing Gian Piero Ventura, who was fired in November after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Mancini says "amid such a difficult period, I thought this could be the right time (to take the job)."

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