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Gianluigi Buffon Plays Down Talk Of Rift Between Italian National Team & Liverpool Striker Mario Balotelli

Buffon has insisted Italy have no problem with Balotelli…

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has denied that he or his teammates in the Italian national team have issues with Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.

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According to Goal.com, Buffon has insisted that it is not his international team-mates’ duty to curb the forward’s behaviour and insists that it is down to the manager to decide who is picked ahead of the first round of Euro 2016 qualifiers.

New Azzurri coach Antonio Conte left the Liverpool striker out of his first squad since being named as successor to Cesare Prandelli, for whom the new Reds signing was a regular.

During the 2013-14 season Balotelli struggled to replicate the form he had shown in his first six months at AC Milan, as the team struggled to eighth place in Serie A.

Buffon was quick to point out that the players have no say over who is selected, and added that it is not his, nor anyone else’s responsibility to sort out any issues the 24-year-old may have off the field.

“We are players and Mario is our team-mate,” the goalkeeper told reporters. “We don’t have a problem with him. We are not so presumptuous enough to think that we can teach someone how to act or how to live, because it’s not as if we are 50 years older.

“I just think there is a coach and he decides what is best for the group. It is not our job to comment on who gets called up. I think players, as they are still young, do not have great self-discipline. It is inevitable that some coaches will push them from the start and that probably helps.”

Balotelli’s absence from the national side means that he will play no part in Italy’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Norway on Tuesday.

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