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Balotelli leaves Italy camp

Mario Balotelli. Credit: PA

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has left Italy's training camp with a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old suffered the problem in training ahead of Sunday's European Championship qualifier with Croatia and has been unable to recover from it.

It was decided on Saturday that Balotelli would be released back to his club and Italy announced the news on their official Twitter feed.

Pirlo to carry on

Juventus' veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo announced on Monday that he will continue to play for Italy.

I have been talking with (new Italy coach Antonio) Conte who asked me if I was ready to play again for the Azzurri and I told him that I was It was a difficult decision to take.

I had wanted to stop playing for the national side but he (Conte) took over and he asked me to lend a hand.

I am happy to do that and we are hopeful we can achieve great things together.

– Gazzetta dello Sport. "

Conte wants to Italy back to the top

New Italy coach Antonio Conte believes the national team will "rise again" following a dismal World Cup.

I am excited and very proud to represent Italy. I realise I join the national team at a delicate time after a negative experience at the World Cup, but I am convinced that Italy will rise again.

Italy have won four World Cups and need to return to the place where they belong.

I live to win and I search for wins, I am here to bring that mentality. I hope I will lose very little with the national team.

– Antonio Conte


Snapshots: Mario Balotelli and model wife Fanny banter in New York

No World Cup. No new season. Shudder. Yes, it's another deathly slow football news day. Anyway, we're no body language experts, but this looks like a textbook couple argument…

Why always me? Credit: PA
Mario 'Two Phones' Balotelli. Credit: PA
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