Striker Mario Balotelli could miss Manchester City's next match against Stoke after undergoing laser-eye surgery in Italy.
The 22-year-old underwent the minor operation, a day earlier than expected so as to avoid the paparazzi, after recently suffering from conjunctivitis associated with wearing contact lenses. Balotelli's surgeon suggested he could return "in around 10 days" meaning he would be touch-and-go for City's trip to the Britannia Stadium on September 15.
"He had a few problems with contact lenses some years ago," surgeon Emanuele Scuri reportedly told Sky Sport Italia.
"We waited for the defect to stabilise over the last four years and this was the right time to have the operation.
"His eyes did not tolerate the contact lenses and had problems at the start of the season.
"I think in around 10 days he should be ready to play again.
"Already he asked if he could drive and I suggested he should get a lift until Thursday.
"We brought the operation forward by a day to avoid paparazzi. This surgery will enable Balotelli to see very well."
City waited until the international break to book Balotelli in for the procedure, which has ruled him out of Italy's World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Malta.
Should Balotelli fail to return in time for the Stoke match he could be available when City open their Champions League campaign against Real Madrid three days later.
- Mario Balotelli