Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been sent home from the Confederations Cup by manager Casare Prandelli following an injury.
The injury was sustained in the 4-2 defeat to Brazil last weekend, when he strained his left quadriceps.
Balotelli has arguably been the most important player in Italy's side this tournament, after he scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Mexico and converted a penalty in the 4-3 victory over Japan.
Balotelli has already been ruled out of Thursday' semi-final, and following deliberation with team physician Enrico Castellacci, Prandelli has decided to send Balotelli home.
And Balotelli has spoken of his disappointment at being ruled out for the rest of the tournament, but feels that his side can go on and win without him.
"I feel like a loser leaving this way," he told reporters. "I would have liked to stay but there's the Champions League preliminary round so I've got to take care of myself. Anyhow, my team-mates will do well even without me."
And manager Prandelli admitted it was a tough decision to send home a player that has been so influential in the team this season.
"He's obviously very upset but there's just not enough time for him to return. We just used good sense," Prandelli commented. "I checked out Balotelli this morning and, considering his condition, I don't think he will be able to recuperate before the final. It's not worth taking more risks."
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