MILAN, December 13- Out of favour Italy striker Mario Balotelli left fans and critics guessing about his possible return to the Azzurri squad by leaving a cryptic message on social media.
“Can’t wait,” Balotelli wrote on his Instagram account alongside a picture listing Italy with Group B opponents Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland for next summer’s 2016 European Championships.
It prompted a flurry of reactions from friends and foes alike, with some suggesting the AC Milan striker, who is on loan from Liverpool, would likely to be watching events in France unfold on television.
Balotelli became an Azzurri hero at Euro 2012 when a brace of goals from the then Manchester City striker secured a 2-1 win over Germany and Italy’s passage to the final, where they were outclassed 4-0 by Spain.
However the 25-year-old faces a battle to make Antonio Conte’s squad having been left on the sidelines by the former Juventus handler since Italy’s first round exit at last summer’s World Cup while under the helm of Cesare Prandelli.
Conte was baffled by Balotelli’s brief message.
“Can’t wait for what? To see the championships on television or to play there?” Conte said in comments reported by gazzetta.it.
“It’s up to him, as it’s up to the others, to show it. But he has to show a lot, a lot, a lot. I haven’t ruled anyone out.”
Balotelli is set to return for AC Milan in the coming weeks having recently undergone a hernia operation.