Mario Balotelli to meet with Italy coach Giampiero Ventura before World Cup qualifiers

Mario Balotelli’s chance to break back into the Italian national team is apparently on its way.

After Balotelli missed Gli Azzurri‘s most recent World Cup qualifiers, Italy coach Giampiero Ventura said he plans to speak with Balotelli before qualifying resumes in March.

"Balotelli’s not a player for a training camp – we’re talking about a player who has played in a World Cup," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to talk to him. Between now and March I will have the time to go and see him personally. Once he’s worked on himself, he will be considered like everybody else."

Balotelli has been tearing up Ligue 1 since he joined Nice this season, scoring six goals in his last six games. With his return to the form he once enjoyed, it has renewed calls and speculation for him to return to Italy’s ranks for the first time since the 2014 World Cup.

But Ventura has been wary of Balotelli’s history of false starts and was lukewarm on Balotelli’s apparent transformation at Nice, telling reporters before Italy’s latest batch of World Cup qualifiers that Balotelli couldn’t have changed that much.

"He’s been back in form for two months now but you can’t think that in two months somebody has changed who they are," Ventura said earlier this month.

It sounds like Ventura is still being cautious, but Balotelli’s playing form is forcing the manager to take a serious look at the striker. Italy are not hurting for depth at the striker spot, but Balotelli is just playing too well right now.