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By ESPN Staff

Italy duo could make swift return

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has revealed that Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli and Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi could now feature in next week's international friendly against Ukraine.

Both players were left out of the squad for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Slovenia for breaching the Azzurri's code of conduct after their recent behaviour for their clubs.

"Their omission is for one game,'' Prandelli said. "We will see for the game against Ukraine in Kiev.''

Balotelli was shown a red card for a high tackle in last week's Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev, while De Rossi was handed a three-match ban by UEFA for elbowing an opponent in his team's Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

"One must win trying to be loyal and being a sportsman,'' Prandelli added. "Our ethical code goes on at all costs, otherwise we would not be credible. It is understood by everyone and no-one has ever objected to it.''

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon fears De Rossi's absence could weaken the Azzurri midfield.

He said: "I was not here when the national team's code of ethics was discussed.

"I am saddened that we will be without two important players like Daniele and Mario, especially Daniele, who has a lot of experience in international games.

"I don't know if I would have forgiven them but certain things are best left for the coach to decide.''

Italy are unbeaten in their qualifying campaign and top of Group C, three points clear of Slovenia.


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