PSG’s Italy star striker Marco Verratti blow for Azzurri

Marco Verratti PSG and Italy striker

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Marco Verratti has withdrawn from the Italy squad for their tricky Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia due to injury.

The Italian Football Federation have confirmed the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has been struggling with a groin strain and has been unable to train with the rest of the squad in recent days.

The 22-year-old will now return to the French capital for treatment on the problem.

Italy face Croatia in a Euro 2016 qualifier at the San Siro in Milan on Sunday, before hosting Albania in a friendly in Genoa two days later, but Verratti will now miss both fixtures.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte has recalled striker Mario Balotelli to the squad for the clashes with Croatia and Albania for the first time since taking charge of Italy.

Balotelli has struggled at club level for new side Liverpool this term and some have suggested he does not deserve a recall to the international fold, but Italy legend Alessandro Nesta believes former Juve coach Conte can get the best out of the striker.

“I think that in a solid group even someone who goes off the rails can be put back on track,” Nesta told Sky Sport Italia.

“Conte has a winning project, he is someone who will not accept finishing second, he only wants to win. He left Juventus, but is a great choice for the Nazionale. He’s the top candidate.”

Italy are 2.21 to beat Croatia on Sunday, a draw is available at 3.10 and the visitors are priced at 3.28 to take maximum points at the San Siro.

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