Belfast Telegraph

Italy bad boys back for Ukraine

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed that Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli and Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi could now feature in next week's international friendly against Ukraine.

Both players were left out of the squad for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Slovenia for breaching the Azzurri's code of conduct after their recent behaviour for their clubs.

“Their omission is for one game,” Prandelli said. “We will see for the game against Ukraine in Kiev.”

Balotelli was shown a red card for a high tackle in last week's Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev, while De Rossi was handed a three-match ban by UEFA for elbowing an opponent in his team's Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

“One must win trying to be loyal and being a sportsman,” Prandelli added. “Our ethical code goes on at all costs, otherwise we would not be credible.

“It is understood by everyone and no-one has ever objected to it.”

Prandelli revealed he has been in touch with Balotelli.

“Balotelli? What happened, happened,” he added. “He is the first one to be disappointed. I spoke to him and, in a way, he asked me for help.

“He asked me how to avoid not always messing things up. I have not spoken to De Rossi but I read his latest comments and I was pleased.”

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon said: “I am saddened that we will be without two important players like Daniele and Mario, especially Daniele, who has a lot of experience in international games.”

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