Italy striker Mario Balotelli has been ruled out of the rest of the FIFA Confederations Cup with a thigh injury.
The Milan striker received treatment in Italy’s final group game against Brazil, which Cesare Prandelli’s side went on to lose 4-2.
Balotelli scored twice in the group phase, and set up Emanuele Giaccherini’s effort in the defeat to Brazil with an audacious back-heel.
But his tournament has now come to an end, with Italy likely to turn to Alberto Gilardino or Stephan El Shaarawy to lead the line in Balotelli’s absence when they take on Spain in the semi-finals.
“This morning we carried out some tests, but the medical conditions are not satisfactory and the player cannot recover between now and the final on Sunday. We prefer not to take any risks,” team doctor Enrico Castellacci said.
“In agreement with the coach (Cesare Prandelli), it was decided to send him back to Milan after speaking to the medical staff at AC Milan, who will look after him.”