Updates from Thursday, March 13
Mario Balotelli's status is in doubt due to a muscular issue, according to Football Italia:
Updates from Monday, March 3
Mario Balotelli will play no part in Italy's clash against Spain due to his ongoing shoulder complaint.
The Associated Press reports via ESPN FC:
Mario Balotelli will miss Italy’s friendly with Spain on Wednesday due to injury.
Balotelli injured his right shoulder towards the end of AC Milan's 1-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Feb. 19.
Updates from Thursday, Feb. 20
Mario Balotelli seemed in upbeat spirits on the morning after a shoulder injury limited his involvement in AC Milan's Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid.
Balotelli will await assessment on the injury, but tweeted:
Hope everything is gonna be ok with my shoulder! Spero che andrà tutto bene con la mia spalla! 😞— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) February 20, 2014
Later in the day, the Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated) reported on how long the star will be out of action:
AC Milan and Italy forward Mario Balotelli will be sidelined for approximately 10 days with a shoulder injury.
Medical tests on Thursday revealed Balotelli has ''damaged his acromioclavicular joint'' and is expected to be out for 10 days ''if there are no complications.''
Milan also says there is the possibility Balotelli could return sooner.
AC Milan's hopes of advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals took a significant blow on Wednesday.
Not only did the Rossoneri fall at home to Atletico Madrid, 1-0, in the first leg of the round of 16 matchup, but star forward Mario Balotelli was also forced to leave late in the second half with a shoulder injury.
ESPN had the news:
Still 0-0 in Milan, where Mario Balotelli has been substituted with 13 minutes left. He left the pitch clutching his right shoulder.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 19, 2014
The severity of the injury is still unknown, but judging by the polarizing Italian's pregame comments about the importance of the Champions League, via ESPN.com's Ben Gladwell, there's a good chance he'll do whatever possible to be back on the pitch for the second leg at Vicente Calderon on March 11:
I'm a centre forward, but if to win the Champions League I've got to play in goal, then I'll play in goal.
Obviously this game has a different importance to other our other games. We've been building up to this one. It's very special as it's the most important club tournament in the world. It has the best players on the field with the best clubs participating. These are the evenings that children dream of being involved in, either as a player or a fan.
Balotelli, who has 10 goals in Serie A play, entered Wednesday's match with just two goals and zero assists in six Champions League appearances this season. But his improved all-around play, as FOX Soccer Trax and Anthony Lopopolo pointed out, has been evident, especially against Madrid:
Balotelli has been very good tonight; worked the full field, not always with great support. Still 0-0— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) February 19, 2014
And this is what we want to see from Balotelli: a player tracking back, starting the play from midfield, clearing the ball, just running.— Anthony Lopopolo (@sportscaddy) February 19, 2014
Currently in ninth place in Serie A and 18 points behind Napoli for a Champions League spot, AC Milan don't have a whole lot to realistically play for domestically, so it wouldn't be surprising if the talented forward missed a couple upcoming league matches.
During the second leg against Madrid, though, Balotelli's squad is going to need him.