Italy coach Di Biagio dismisses Raiola rage over Balotelli snub

ShareClose Comments
The super agent criticised Italian football after his client's latest international snub, but the Azzurri boss is not bothered

Italy's interim coach Luigi Di Biagio says Mino Raiola's view over Mario Balotelli not being called up is "irrelevant".

Balotelli - who has not featured for Italy since the 2014 World Cup - was touted for a recall after scoring 14 Ligue 1 goals for Nice this season.

But Di Biagio turned to AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone and Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa - son of Enrico - for March friendlies against Argentina and England.

Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, surprisingly losing a play-off against Sweden, and Balotelli's agent Raiola called for the country's football system to be revamped.

But Di Biagio - temporarily stepping up from his role as Under-21 coach - dismissed Raiola's criticism when he appeared in front of the media on Thursday.

"Balotelli has done very well and is a good player but I do have choices to make," Di Biagio said.

"I have known Raiola for 25 years, but I have so many things to think about that what he said is irrelevant."

Former Roma and Inter player Di Biagio is on a three-man shortlist to replace Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked after Italy failed to reach the World Cup, along with Chelsea's Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini of Zenit.

The 46-year-old will take charge of the Azzurri for the first time in Friday's friendly against Argentina at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Article continues below

"For the moment I don't feel nervous, maybe I will tomorrow," Di Biagio told reporters. "I've got too much to do and don't realise what's happening.

"The lads are relaxed, as we've worked well over the last few days. It'll be an important evening for me, but while everything around it might've changed - a lot - the way I work hasn't.

"We need to find the right enthusiasm again quickly, to cancel out what happened in the past and prepare for this mini-World Cup. The next four friendly games can represent a little World Cup for us."

Next article:
'They are the best' - Man United fans keeping De Gea at Old Trafford according to Herrera
Next article:
International Champions Cup 2018: Full list of teams, fixtures & location of pre-season tournament
Next article:
Manchester City 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Gotze spoils Mahrez's debut in ICC opener
Next article:
Keita: I turned down Barca and Bayern for Liverpool
Next article:
Roma 'couldn't say no' to £65m Alisson offer, says Totti
Close

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Show more Accept