Mario Balotelli leaves Confederations Cup with thigh injury

Italy send Balotelli home with injury
© AP Photos
Italy send Mario Balotelli home from the Confederations Cup with a thigh injury suffered against Brazil last weekend.

Italy striker Mario Balotelli has flown home from Brazil tonight after being ruled out of the Confederations Cup through injury.

Balotelli aggravated a muscle injury in his left thigh during Saturday's 4-2 defeat to the host nation, with Azzurri team doctors quick to rule the forward out of a semi-final against Spain.

Further tests on the problem carried out on Monday have revealed that Balotelli's injury is worse than first feared, and Italy coach Cesare Prandelli admitted that he had little choice but to send Balotelli home.

He is quoted by Football Italia as saying: "Balotelli was very disappointed, but there was no time for him to recover.

"In any case, there was no pressure from Milan on me or the Federation to bring him straight back to Italy.

"Without Mario we will have to try to work more on the collective."

The 22-year-old will return to AC Milan for further examination of the injury this week, forcing Prandelli to shuffle his squad ahead of Thursday's repeat of the European Championship final against La Roja.

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Italy's Mario Balotelli kicks the ball to score his team's second goal during the soccer Confederations Cup group A match between Mexico and Italy on June 16, 2013
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