'There haven't been positive signs' – Ventura says Balotelli must 'change' to earn Italy recall

The controversial striker’s hopes of an Azzurri recall appear to have been dented by his latest red card for Nice

Italy coach Giampiero Ventura is not ruling out a recall for Mario Balotelli but says the latest signs from the temperamental forward have not been positive.

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Balotelli has largely impressed this year at Nice, scoring nine goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances, but picked up his third red card of the season when he was sent off at Lorient last weekend.

The 26-year-old has not featured for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup and his latest indiscipline has not boosted his hopes of a return to the international fray.

“I speak with everyone, you can’t expect to be treated with respect if you don’t offer it yourself. I’ve made a commitment and I’ll speak with Balotelli,” Ventura said at a media conference.

“We haven’t been able to meet yet, we’ve made a lot of calls, not me but [team manager Gabriele] Oriali. We’ll meet, but no-one can argue with Balotelli in terms of his ability, it’s all the other stuff.

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“So far there haven’t been positive signs. The facts tell you that Balotelli must change, we hope he does because it would be a shame if he threw his talent away.”

Ventura also played down talk of Argentine defender Federico Fazio representing Italy having given up on prospects of being selected by his homeland.

The centre-back has impressed for Roma this term having joined on loan from Tottenham and said he would consider playing for Italy, with his grandfather hailing from Sicily.

However, Ventura said: “It’s one thing being eligible and another being called. Fazio is playing for Roma, he’s important, he’s going through a period of great physical and mental form.

“But… he’s 30 years old. If I have to play someone over 30 then it’s better that it’s [Andrea] Barzagli. [Amadou] Diawara I’ve mentioned, but we’ll only see when it’s official and possible.”

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