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The Italy international striker has at least had the door opened for a recall to the Azzurri

It’s been a mixed week in the world of Mario Balotelli, who has been forced to watch on from the sidelines as his Nice side have struggled to fire without him.

On Wednesday it was announced by head coach Lucien Favre that the Italian forward had sustained a calf problem that will rule him out for at least four matches. 

"He won't be available for the three matches to come over the next 10 days, that's for sure," the Swiss said.

"For the matches that come after that, we don't know yet."

Balotelli’s problem was sustained during shooting practice, and without him his Nice side have stumbled. They were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League courtesy of a 2-0 loss against Schalke, though their prospects of qualifying in that competition were slim anyway, and on Sunday they were left frustrated by a 1-1 home draw with Bastia.

The striker was in the stands to watch as Alassane Pléa – his replacement – headed Nice into the lead. But after they were pegged back by Enzo Crivelli's goal, Pléa, the former Lyon youth team striker, incredibly hit the bar having rounded the visiting keeper.

With Monaco thumping Marseille and PSG struggling to a 2-1 win over Lyon, Nice’s advantage over the chasing pack is now just one point.

Clearly they were not as fired up by this American football team, whose pre-game chant Balotelli posted on Instagram on Thursday.

 

Super cool #weready

A video posted by Mario Balotelli