Balotelli in “great shape” before Brescia debut but Ronaldo doubt for Juventus


Milan (AFP) – Mario Balotelli said he was “in great shape” as he prepares to return to Serie A on Tuesday with his first game for his hometown club Brescia against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Italian champions Juventus.

“Mario will be there Tuesday,” confirmed coach Eugenio Corini of the Italian striker whose debut was delayed by a four-game suspension for former club Marseille.

But Ronaldo may miss the date with Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri revealing the Portuguese star had picked up a slight adductor problem.

“Cristiano has a little fatigue to the adductors and I have to see if he is available,” said Sarri.

“I don’t want to take any risk with injuries,” added the Juventus coach with two Serie A fixtures this week before hosting Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on October 1.

“Brescia are a dangerous team. The game is undoubtedly a tricky one and Balotelli’s debut can give an extra boost.”

Balotelli, 29, has been getting fit during his absence as he looks to impress Italy coach Roberto Mancini and earn a spot in the Euro 2020 team.

“My objective is to play for Italy at the Euros, but my main aim right now is to get into shape as quickly as possible for Brescia,” Balotelli told DAZN.

It will be Balotelli’s third time playing in Italy after Inter Milan and AC Milan.

“I’ve worked harder in the last month and a half than in a decade,” continued the former Liverpool striker.

“I’m ready. I’ve only played two friendlies, and have not played 90 minutes, but I am in great shape. The last time I was at this weight, I was at Manchester City.”

Balotelli, who has 36 caps for Italy, has not crossed paths with Ronaldo in a decade since the Portuguese was playing for Manchester United.

But he insisted: “Ronaldo’s presence doesn’t really interest me. I’ll try to score and play the way I will in any game.”

The Italian won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan and the Champions League in 2010 before moving to Manchester City where he won the Premier League title in 2012.

Brescia were promoted to Serie A this year, after being relegated in 2011, and are 11th in Serie A after two wins in four games.

Juventus are trailing leaders Inter Milan by two points, but Antonio Conte’s side also face a tricky test against Lazio in the San Siro.

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