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Mario Balotelli earns first Italy call up since 2014 World Cup

Italy Luxembourg Soccer WCup

Italy forward Mario Balotelli, right, and teammate midfielder Antonio Candreva walk on the field after their teammate Claudio Marchisio scored during a friendly World Cup preparation soccer match between Italy and Luxembourg in Perugia, Italy, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Italy opens its Brazilian World Cup campaign against England in Group D on June 14 then faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay on June 24. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

AP

Mario Balotelli’s career has been anything but routine, however, the veteran striker has regained his confidence in Ligue 1 and revitalized a career that once looked like it was headed for absolute stardom.

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The 27-year-old was recalled to Italy’s national team squad on Saturday for the first time since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, courtesy of new Azzurri manager Roberto Mancini.

Mancini and Balotelli has a long-standing relationship, after the two first connected at Inter Milan and then Manchester City.

The Nice striker has re-captured his form in France over the past two seasons, scoring 43 goals in all competitions during that span.

With Italy not qualified for this summer’s World Cup, Mancini and Co. have the opportunity to explore new players, and in Balotelli’s case, revisit old ones.

The Azzurri will take on Saudi Arabia on May 28, before meeting France and the Netherlands on June 1 and June 4, respectively.