Mario Balotelli out of Torino clash
Mario Balotelli will miss AC Milan's clash with Torino next weekend after picking up his 13th yellow card of the season during his side's 2-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday.
Balotelli, 23, was booked for making an obscene gesture to home fans at the Stadio Sant’Elia after equalising for the Rossoneri in a game they went on to win -- making it two Serie A victories out of two for new coach Clarence Seedorf.
However, the Dutchman is not going to be able to rely on the Italy international, who has scored in all three of Seedorf’s games in charge so far, when Milan face high-flying Torino on Saturday.
With fifth-placed Inter Milan stumbling again at the weekend and facing a trip to Juventus in their next game on Sunday night, Torino would break into the top five with a win, while Milan would reduce the arrears on their city rivals to just two points -- reviving their own hopes of qualifying for the Europa League next season -- with a victory.
Only Sassuolo's Thomas Manfredini and Sampdoria's Nenad Krsticic have worse disciplinary records than Balotelli so far this season. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, however, has backed Seedorf to get the striker on the straight and narrow.
"Seedorf has used the right words when talking about Balotelli," Prandelli said in Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'm sure that with his help, we can extract all of the good which is within Mario.
"I don't know if maybe a lot of patience will be needed with him, but certainly he needs a lot of love because he's a lad we hold in high esteem. He will learn, he will."
Prandelli hopes Balotelli will have learned by the time he takes charge of him during the World Cup in the summer.
Having a serene and focused Balotelli may be crucial to Italy's hopes in Brazil, and the Italy boss is still hopeful of being able to field his first-choice strike partnership of the former Manchester City man and Giuseppe Rossi.
"I hope he recovers because he's unique in the role he plays," Prandelli said of Rossi, who is currently waiting for further tests on a knee injury which could rule him out for anywhere between three and six months.
The Fiorentina forward is currently recovering in the United States and is due to visit renowned knee specialist Dr J. Richard Steadman on Tuesday.