Mario Balotelli has no qualms about being left out of Italy’s latest squad by head coach Giampiero Ventura, but he is targeting an Azzurri return in the near future.
The controversial striker has not featured for the national team since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when he was taken off at half-time in their 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in Natal.
Since then Balotelli has struggled to find his best form in difficult spells with AC Milan and Liverpool – the 26-year-old having scored only four times in all competitions across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns.
His struggles saw Liverpool allow the Italy international to leave for Nice on a free transfer during the last transfer window and he has flourished in Ligue 1 with five goals in three starts.
That form had seen him linked with a return to the national side but Ventura opted not to call him, a decision Balotelli agrees with.
“I’ve missed it for some time, but it’s been deserved,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I hope to return in blue very soon, but only at my best. To me, it’s better to have skipped this match. I want to be at my best for the upcoming games.”
Balotelli also lifted the lid on his troubles during his last spell in Italy with Milan, criticising the atmosphere within the club.
“They weren’t the best environment for me,” he added. “I did nothing wrong from a behavioural point of view. Injuries are out of players’ control and don’t depend on us.
“I found a lot of confusion at Milan, the only certainty was and is [Adriano] Galliani.
“What do I think about his possible farewell? This would confirm the current confusion at Milan.”
Life in the south of France is much better for Balotelli and he is enjoying his football once again.
“The city where I am now is beautiful,” said the former Inter striker. “The environmental aspect played a role in my decision, having recently lived in Liverpool and Milan.
“The team, however, are very young. We’re almost all the same age, this is the football that I like.
“I have no more dreams in football, only targets. The ranking of the teams where I have felt good? Nice, Manchester City and… that’s it.”