Adriano Boin Date: 24th May 2018 at 10:04pm
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New Italy coach Roberto Mancini has revealed Gianluigi Buffon wants to continue his playing career, making him eligible to be called up to the national team.

The legendary goalkeeper will leave Juventus once his contract expires on June 30, but recent reports have suggested he will not retire – with PSG favourites to secure his signature.

“I spoke with Gigi on the telephone two days after I took over,” Mancini told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.

“It was a quick chat. He explained to me that his intention is to continue his career.

“Everyone who plays and is at their best can be part of the national team. I respect his wishes.”

Another name garnering attention is Mario Balotelli, who is expected to feature in upcoming friendlies against Saudi Arabia, France and the Netherlands.

The striker hasn’t played for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup, but Mancini believes he has matured since then.

“He said ‘hello boss’,” the tactician stated in a Brescia accent. “I asked him how he was and that’s all. I haven’t had time to speak with him.

“The last time we saw each other was four years ago, and I think he has matured.

“He has two kids now and I think that helps.”

Italy take on Saudi Arabia on May 28, France on June 1 and the Netherlands on June 4.