MARIO BALOTELLI has been slated on social media for his miserable international comeback as Italy struggled against Poland tonight.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker touched the ball just ten touches before the interval – fewer than anyone else – and was hauled off after 61 minutes in his first competitive game for the troubled Azzurri since 2014.
Roberto Mancini shocked many by recalling the Nice frontman for his first match in charge four months ago, with Balotelli netting in that 2-1 friendly win over Saudia Arabia.
But the 28-year-old showed why he was such a frustrating figure in the Premier League, summing up a slow and laboured display from the Azzurri in their Uefa Nations League opener.
One of the more generous tweets said: “Italy have been atroicious. Balotelli starting while Belotti sits on the bench is just atrocious.”
Another fan noted: “Where is Balotelli? Hoping for a change.”
And one supporter possibly caught the mood of the whole of Italy, saying: Balotellis has had like five touches the whole half and is so frustrated.”
In contrast, Poland looked perky on the counter-attack.
And their breakthrough just before the break was as good as almost anything seen at the World Cup – for which Italy famously failed to qualify.
Robert Lewandowski crossed for Piotr Zielinski to thump home a volley with exquisite technique.