ROME (AP) — AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been included in the Italy squad to face Argentina in a friendly match Wednesday despite having a slight injury.
Balotelli sustained a calf injury during AC Milan's preseason tour in the United States but further tests have shown the problem is not as serious as first feared and the forward has been included in Italy's 27-man squad on Friday.
Fellow striker Pablo Osvaldo returns after being kicked off the squad for the Confederations Cup for insulting his club coach at Roma — a breach of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's strict code of ethics.
Osvaldo is one of seven players included who did not play in the June tournament, in which Italy finished third. Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti and Roma's Alessandro Florenzi have been called up following good performances in the Under-21 European Championship.
Sampdoria's Lorenzo De Silvestri, who has not featured for Italy since 2010, also returns as do fellow defenders Andrea Ranocchia of Inter Milan and Genoa's Luca Antonelli. The friendly is dedicated to Pope Francis, who is from Argentina and an avid football fan. Both squads will meet the Pope on Tuesday.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Luca Antonelli (Genoa), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Lorenzo De Silvestri (Sampdoria), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan).
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Alressio Cerci (Torino), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Diamanti (Bologna), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland),Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan), Alberto Gilardino (Genoa), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma).