No Balotelli in Italy squad

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

There is still no place for Mario Balotelli in the Italy squad as coach Gian Piero Ven­tura named a largely un­changed 26-man list yes­ter­day for the up­com­ing World Cup qual­i­fiers against Spain and Mace­do­nia.

Balotelli has net­ted four goals in his past two league matches for Nice but missed last week's Ligue 1 game with in­jury and was forced off at half­time in the Europa League with ill­ness, af­ter scor­ing against Krasnodar.

Italy is largely un­changed from the squad which won 3-1 in Is­rael in its open­ing qual­i­fy­ing match for the 2018 World Cup, days af­ter los­ing a friendly to France.

That was Ven­tura's first match in charge, hav­ing taken over from An­to­nio Conte, who left for Chelsea af­ter guid­ing Italy to the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship.

Genoa goal­keeper Mat­tia Perin, mid­field­ers Domenico Crisc­ito (Zenit St. Pe­ters­burg) and Mat­teo Darmian (Manch­ester United), and Vil­lareal for­ward Ni­cola San­sone re­turn for Italy.

Perin re­places in­jured Lazio goal­keeper Fed­erico Marchetti as one of the re­serves to Gian­luigi Buf­fon, along with AC Mi­lan's teenage shot­stop­per Gian­luigi Don­narumma.

The 17-year-old Don­narumma be­came the youngest goal­keeper to ever play for the Az­zurri, and the youngest Ital­ian player over­all in modern times, when he re­placed Buf­fon at half­time against France last month.

Italy plays Spain in Turin on Thurs­day, be­fore trav­el­ling to Skopje, where it faces Mace­do­nia on Sun­day.

Goal­keep­ers: Gian­luigi Buf­fon (Ju­ven­tus), Gian­luigi Don­narumma (AC Mi­lan), Mat­tia Perin (Genoa).

De­fend­ers: Da­vide As­tori (Fiorentina), An­drea Barza­gli (Ju­ven­tus), Leonardo Bonucci (Ju­ven­tus), Gior­gio Chiellini (Ju­ven­tus), An­gelo Og­bonna (West Ham), Alessio Ro­mag­noli (AC Mi­lan).

Mid­field­ers: Fed­erico Bernarde­schi (Fiorentina), Gi­a­como Bon­aven­tura (AC Mi­lan), An­to­nio Can­dreva (In­ter Mi­lan), Domenico Crisc­ito (Zenit St. Pe­ters­burg), Mat­teo Darmian (Manch­ester United), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Mat­tia De Sciglio (AC Mi­lan), Alessan­dro Florenzi (Roma), Ric­cardo Mon­to­livo (AC Mi­lan), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Marco Ver­ratti (Paris Saint-Ger­main).

For­wards: An­drea Belotti (Torino), Eder (In­ter Mi­lan), Manolo Gab­bia­dini (Napoli), Ciro Im­mo­bile (Lazio), Graziano Pelle (Shan­dong Luneng), Ni­cola San­sone (Vil­lareal).

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