Chiellini rejoins Italy squad; Pellegri called up

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini gestures in despair. (Luca Bruno/AP)

ROME — Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini has rejoined Italy’s squad for the opening Nations League matches against Poland and Portugal.

Chiellini had not been included in Italy’s squad since a playoff loss to Sweden last year excluded the Azzurri from the World Cup.

Also, 17-year-old Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri was among five players receiving their first callups by coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday.

The others were Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, defenders Manuel Lazzari (Spal) and Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), and midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma).

Italy hosts Poland in Bologna on Friday then visits Portugal three days later.

Striker Mario Balotelli could feature in his first official match with Italy since the 2014 World Cup.

Italy’s roster:

Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino).

Defenders: Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Caldara (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Manuel Lazzari (Spal), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Cagliari), Marco Benassi (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter Milan), Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma).

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nice), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pietro Pellegri (Monaco), Simone Zaza (Torino).

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