Belfast Telegraph

Balotelli given compassionate leave

Liverpool have confirmed that striker Mario Balotelli has been given compassionate leave after he missed the first day of pre-season training on Monday.

The 24-year-old Italian was due to return along with the rest of the squad, but was not with his team-mates when they reassembled amid reports of the death of his adoptive father Francesco at the weekend.

Liverpool confirmed that Balotelli has been granted compassionate leave, but insisted that the details remain private.

Balotelli tweeted over the weekend: "Thanks everyone for the support. I really wanna thanks everybody. My family thanks all of you too."

Liverpool are due to head off on their pre-season tour to the far east and Australia at the weekend, and the indications are that the Italy international will join up with the squad for the trip.

Balotelli, a £16million signing from AC Milan last summer, was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, but raised by the Balotelli family in Brescia from the age of two.

He endured a difficult first campaign on Merseyside, during which he scored just four goals - only one of them in the Barclays Premier League - and has been linked with a move away from Anfield during the current transfer window.

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