Mario Balotelli has set his sights on breaking into Italy’s Euro 2020 squad after making his mother cry by completing a move to hometown club Brescia.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker – born in Palermo but brought up by his adoptive parents in Brescia – is reported to have turned down an offer from Brazilian club Flamengo to sign a “multi-year” contract with last season’s Serie B champions.
The 29-year-old had been a free agent since he was released by Ligue 1 side Marseille at the end of last season.
Balotelli has won 36 caps for his country, scoring 14 goals, and hopes having his former City boss Roberto Mancini in charge of the national team can help him find a way back into the Italy set-up.
“I am absolutely targeting a place in the Italy squad for Euro 2020,” he said, in quotes reported by Football Italia.
“I spoke to Mancini when he wished me a happy birthday (earlier this month).”
Discussing the reaction of his mother when she learned of the move, Balotelli added: “My mum cried when I told her I had the possibility of coming to Brescia.
“I asked what she thought and she was just crying. She’s very happy.
“My father was from Brescia, he supported the team and it was his dream to see me play with this jersey, so I think he’d be happy too.
“The president and I had already met in England many years ago. (Agent) Mino Raiola proposed the idea and it really wasn’t difficult for me to choose Brescia.”
Balotelli was the target of racist abuse during previous spells in Serie A and stressed: “I hope with all my heart that we do not see a repeat of incidents that happened many, many years ago when I was last in Italy.
“I can’t start thinking about that, though.”