Mancini: I won't call up Balotelli just to make a statement

Mancini: I won't call up Balotelli just to make a statement

Italy boss Roberto Mancini says he will only call up Mario Balotelli to the national team for football reasons and not to make a statement against racism. 

Italy, who have qualified for the 2020 European Championship will be up against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday and a win would see them register a 10th consecutive win. The former Manchester City ace kicked the ball towards crowd during Brescia's match against Verona earlier in the month and threatened to walk out of the pitch after he was subjected to racist insults. 

Ahead of the clash, Mancini has revealed Balotelli's call up to the national team won't be because of the skin color but if he deserves it. This came after the Italy soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina said Balotelli's inclusion in the squad would send a strong message against racism. 

"When I call Mario Balotelli it will be because he deserves it, not because of the colour of his skin," he said. 

"I know Mario and I love him. Remember, I got Mario to play when he was a boy, so I know him really well." 

Balotelli has not played for Italy since September 2018.