Mario Balotelli sent home by Italy with back injury

05 October 2011 08:29
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been ruled out of Italy's Euro 2012 qualifier in Serbia on Friday after picking up a back injury.

The 21-year-old left team's training camp in Coverciano to undergo further tests in a nearby hospital and the City star will not play in next Tuesday's clash with Northern Ireland.

However, he is expected to be fit for Manchester City's return to Premier League action.

Out of action: Mario Balotelli has been ruled out of Italy's forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers

Balotelli's injury is a further setback for the Italians, who are already without Inter Milan forward Giampaolo Pazzini (foot) and are sweating on the fitness of Villarreal frontman Giuseppe Rossi (knee).

AC Milan's Antonio Cassano and Parma's Sebastian Giovinco are currently Italy's only fit strikers for Friday's game in Belgrade, and coach Cesare Prandelli may be forced to call up a replacement.

Feeling the strain: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will be without Balotelli, who reported problems with his injured back during training on Tuesday

'Balotelli had problems during practice yesterday,' Italy's team doctor Enrico Castellacci confirmed.

'We have decided, having spoken to Manchester City, to send him home.'

Regarding the condition of Pazzini and Rossi, Castellacci added: 'Pazzini was better and little by little he will recover. However, he will continue his recovery in Milan.

In a sweat: Italy are hoping Iter Milan forward Giampaolo Pazzini will recover from injury to face Serbia

'As for Rossi, he has already began therapy on his knee and was better this morning.

'He will pass a late fitness test this afternoon and could be available for the trip to Belgrade.'

Italy have already secured their place at Euro 2012 and remain unbeaten in qualifying.

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Source: Daily_Mail