Balotelli released by Brescia for going Awol

Balotelli (right) joined Brescia last summer but has scored just five times in 19 matches for the club. (AP pic)

ROME: Mario Balotelli’s ill-fated stint at hometown club Brescia appears to be coming to an end, with local media reporting Saturday his contract will be terminated after repeated absences from training.

A letter notifying Balotelli of his release was sent to the Italy international by the club’s lawyers on Friday, according to Sky Sport, Gazzetta dello Sport and the AGI news agency.

Balotelli has reportedly missed a number of sessions since Serie A teams returned to training at the start of May.

Players initially worked out individually before clearance was given for them to resume team training.

The 29-year-old said this week he had been sick and would send the club medical certificates as proof.

Brescia coach Diego Lopez said on Friday he was “disappointed” with the forward’s attitude.

“Mario is training separately because his teammates have done work that he hasn’t,” Lopez told Corriere della Sera.

“The (individual) training sessions were optional, okay. But the group took one road and he took another. On Zoom, during the quarantine, we didn’t see him. Even if he says he feels good, he’s not at the level of his teammates.”

Last month, Brescia president said Balotelli’s “mind is no longer” with the club, who were bottom of the table and nine points from safety when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

“I love him and I was hoping that the air of home and the desire to get back into the national team would do him good. We are all disappointed,” said Massimo Cellino.

Balotelli, who has 36 caps for Italy, joined Brescia last summer but has scored just five times in 19 matches for the club.