- Mancini bemoaned lack of Italian strikers
- Balotelli responded on Instagram
- Two share storied past at City
WHAT HAPPENED? The Azzurri boss aimed a dig at Gareth Southgate and England by claiming his side were "worse off", before bemoaning the amount of Italians playing in his country's top flight. While stand-in forward Mateo Retegui scored in his first game under Mancini and in the absence of the injured Ciro Immobile, Italy fell to a 2-1 loss to England in their European opener.
Balotelli, who boasts 14 goals in 36 international appearances but hasn't played for Italy since 2018, took to Instagram to highlight that there are forwards readily available, in a somewhat cryptic message.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “There are strikers in Italy and they are fit, trust me,” the 32-year-old wrote in a set of stories on Saturday. “Regret is the feeling of those who regularly don’t learn the lesson and get there once it’s all finished. Or simply, they never get there.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Of course, it wouldn't be the first feud between Mancini and Balotelli in their careers. The pair worked together at Manchester City between 2010 and 2013 when Mancini famously substituted the forward in a pre-season friendly for his lackadaisical attempt at an effort on target. Now, over a decade after a controversial period in Manchester, Balotelli plays for Swiss side FC Sion, where he has scored five goals in 14 top-flight matches.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR BALOTELLI? A call up to the Italy national team still seems a long way off, however, with the former City and Liverpool forward next in action for Sion when they travel to Luzem on April 2.