Balotelli, De Rossi missing for Italy vs. Spain
ROME (AP) — Mario Balotelli is out injured and Daniele De Rossi has been dropped due to a code of ethics violation for Italy’s friendly at World Cup holder Spain on Wednesday.
Missing two key starters, coach Cesare Prandelli gave Torino forward Ciro Immobile and Parma defender Gabriel Paletta their first call ups to Italy’s squad on Sunday.
Balotelli injured his right shoulder toward the end of AC Milan’s 1-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Feb. 19.
De Rossi was punished for hitting Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi while playing for Roma in a 0-0 draw on Saturday. De Rossi was not punished by the referee but is expected to be banned by the Serie A judge with the use of TV replays on Monday.
The 24-year-old Immobile is among the Serie A’s top scorers with 13 goals this season. The Argentine-born Paletta, 28, just obtained Italian citizenship.
Italy is also without injured forward Giuseppe Rossi for the match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid.
Rossi had an explosive first half of the Serie A season before reinjuring his right knee at the beginning of the year. He is still tied with Carlos Tevez for the Serie A scoring lead with 14 goals.
In their last meeting, Italy was beaten by Spain on penalties in the semifinals of last year’s Confederations Cup.
The two European powers also met twice at the 2012 European Championship. They drew 1-1 in the group stage then Spain routed Italy 4-0 in the final.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St. Petersburg), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Gabriel Paletta (Parma).
Midfielders: Andrea Candreva (Lazio), Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Alessio Cerci (Torino), Mattia Destro (Roma), Alberto Gilardino (Genoa), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pablo Osvaldo (Juventus).