MILAN (AP) – Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has recalled Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta to the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Motta, who has made 13 international appearances, has been absent from the squad for more than year, and last played for Italy in the 2012 European Championship final loss to Spain.
Prandelli has also recalled Sampdoria striker Manolo Gabbiadini, who made his only appearance for Italy in the friendly against England in 2012.
Mario Balotelli, Pablo Osvaldo and Riccardo Montolivo have been included despite being suspended for the Bulgaria match.
Italy plays Bulgaria on Friday in Palermo and the Czech Republic four days later in Turin.
The Azzurri are top of Group B with 14 points from six games, four more than Bulgaria.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Luca Antonelli (Genoa), Davide Astori (Cagliari), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), 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), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan), Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria), Alberto Gilardino (Genoa), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).