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Conte omits Balotelli from provisional Italy Euro 2016 squad

The Azzurri have left out AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli

Italy manager Antonio Conte named his provisional squad for the European Championship this week, and his selection was notable as much for the player he left off as for those he chose.

Milan’s Mario Balotelli will not be part of the team for the championship matches, which start on June 10. That is not a huge surprise; Conte has named the mercurial striker only once since taking over in 2014.

“It’s up to him to show he can be included, just as it is with the others,” Conte told Italian reporters in December . “But he has got so, so much to prove.”

Veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo and winger Sebastian Giovinco were also omitted.

Italy is in Group E of the 24-team tournament, along with Belgium, Sweden, and the Republic of Ireland. They face Marc Wilmots’ Belgian side as their first opponent on June 13.

AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo and Paris St Germain midfielder Thiago Motta have been called up, but their physical condition still needs to be verified.

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio and Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin will miss the championship because of injuries.

The 23-man Euro 2016 squad will be announced on May 31.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint Germain)

Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Obinze Ogbonna (West Ham), Daniele Rugani (Juventus)

Wingers: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Davide Zappacosta (Torino)

Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Napoli), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus)

Forwards: Citadin Martins Eder (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus)

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