Mancini Rules Out Balotelli Return, Dishes on World Cup

Roberto Mancini discussed his latest call-ups, the expansion of the World Cup, and the debate about the oriundi after a federal event (via Goal).

“I don’t like the new format. The number of matches will grow, while it would be better to go in the opposite direction to allow the players to breathe a little. Otherwise, they’ll be severely tired by the end of the season.”

Mancini defended selecting Mateo Retegui.

“Such polemic has no logic. You should make a list of the available strikers. The players shouldn’t be down in the dumps for missing out. They just need to feature regularly and score. If they do well, they’ll be part of the squad. It’s not easier for us to call up somebody from the other end of the world. Every national team does it, and it’s an option for us too.”

Italy will face Spain in the Nations League’s semifinal in June.

“We’re optimistic on that front, as we’ll have a few days to prepare. It’s an important tournament. We got to the final four twice, and we’ll try to win it this time. We came out on top in a challenging group against Germany and England. It seems that this cup matters when we lose, and it doesn’t when we do well. We need to find a happy medium.”

Mario Balotelli forwarded his candidacy because of the Azzurri’s issues up front, but Roberto Mancini slammed the door on his return.

“I think it’s a closed chapter. As for Mattia Zaccagni and Gianluca Mancini, we made them debut with the national team, which means that we believe in them. If somebody is good, we’ll select him.”

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