Roberto Mancini’s assertion that Mario Balotelli’s days as an Italy international were over elicited cryptic responses from Mario Balotelli.
The former Inter Milan and Manchester City striker recently posted on social media that he was ready for a recall to the national team due to a striker shortage.
Mancini was instead forced to call up Mateo Retegui, an uncapped forward from Argentina.
‘There are Italian strikers out there and they are in good shape – trust me,’ he had written on Instagram.
The former Mancity coach then responded to the suggestions by slamming the door on any notion of recalling Balotelli, declaring that ‘chapter closed’.
‘I think that chapter is closed,’ he told reporters at an Italian Football Federation event.
Balotelli, who played under Mancini for three years at City, winning the Premier League and FA Cup, appeared to fire back at the Italy boss.
He initially posted a cry-laughing emoji, before posting a screen-grab of what appeared to be a motivational message.
‘You don’t become king by chasing the queen,’ it read.
Balotelli last played for Italy in January 2022, when Mancini called him up to a 35-man squad for a training camp ahead of the crucial World Cup play-offs that March.
He was left out of the squad for the play-offs, in which Italy was eliminated by relative unknowns North Macedonia.
Balotelli last played for Italy in 2018, after making his debut in 2010. His record currently stands at 36 appearances and 14 goals.
He currently plays for the Swiss Super League club Sion, having previously played for clubs in France, Italy, and Turkey.