Italian players Andrea Pirlo, Sebastian Giovinco and Mario Balotelli have been left off the preliminary list announced for Euro 2016 for Italy.
Toronto FC forward Giovinco is one of a number of noteworthy players left off the continental tournament.
The 29-year old, who has 30 goals in 45 games for TFC, was surprisingly not included in manager Antonio Conte’s 30-man squad, despite his decent performance at his club.
Aside Giovinco is Balotelli, whose goals during the 2012 tournament sent Italy into the European championship final before they lost 4-0 in the final to Spain.
Balotelli’s omission was expected after he scored only one goal in 20 Serie A appearances for AC Milan this season while on loan from Liverpool. The centre forward hasn’t played for The Azzurri since the team was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup.
Andrea Pirlo, 37, who currently plays for New York City FC in Major League Soccer, was also left out of the squad. The veteran has made 116 appearances for the Italian national side. Pirlo’s exlusion comes as something more of a shock, as the latest StanJames betting review had made him one of the favourites to be included in the squad.
Another key player left off the team is injury-plagued Giuseppe Rossi. Rossi, a United States-born forward finished the season on loan at Levante but will not be joining the team in France this summer.
Injured midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti were also not included. Midfielders Riccardo Montolivo and Thiago Motta were put on the team but the announcement said that their medical conditions “need to be verified.” Defender Armando Izzo, who was placed under investigation for match-fixing earlier Monday, was dropped after being included in a preliminary training camp last week.
The forwards Conte selected were Brazilian-born Eder and Graziano Pelle, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Simone Zaza. Conte will name his final 23-man squad for the tournament on May 31. Italy is in Group E — one of the toughest of the tournament — with Belgium, Ireland and Sweden.