Keep off the grass: Balotelli's career threatened by allergy

Italian's latest scare in Kiev demonstrates seriousness of problem that also affects English golfer Ian Poulter

Manchester City are urgently trying to establish the cause of the allergic reaction which forced Mario Balotelli's departure from their Europa League defeat in Kiev, with Velcro and other fabrics under consideration as well as the more probable cause – grass.

Though the 20-year-old's failure to arrive for the second half in temperatures of -6C raised scorn in some quarters, with the former City defender and BBC summariser Danny Mills among those unimpressed, Balotelli has experienced several mild forms of the same allergic urticaria during his seven-month City career and two similar incidents caused him serious alarm while at Internazionale. Balotelli is ready to undertake allergy tests himself to solve the problem.

City medical staff had adrenalin on hand both in the stadium and later at Kiev airport on Thursday, in case the reaction which left Balotelli with sores on his back, legs and feet and swelling to his face, lips and tongue developed into anaphylactic shock. City's readiness for a severe escalation of the swelling – adrenalin is used when problems occur with the heart's rhythms – reveals why they are treating the events of Thursday night seriously. Two double doses of strong antihistamine failed to ireduce the swelling to Balotelli's face in the dressing room at the Valeriy Lobanovsky Stadium and City insist Balotelli arrived late for the second half because doctors – who have ruled out fertilisers or chemicals as a cause – were trying to deal with his symptoms. Balotelli trained yesterday and is fit for tomorrow's FA Cup tie with Reading.

Doctors at Carrington have been aware of Balotelli's allergy for months, and Internazionale came across it in November 2009, when Balotelli was forced to cut short a good performance for Jose Mourinho's side against Palermo at San Siro because of an allergic reaction to antibiotics. Mourinho seemed to accept Balotelli's condition – the Italian had scored that day – though he was less sympathetic in March last year when Balotelli complained of a high temperature and was forced to leave Inter's match against Genoa. Mourinho said he did not believe his story and declared sarcastically that it would be unethical to force him to play.

Balotelli's awareness of how rapidly the allergic reaction can take hold was the cause of his alarm when he experienced a repeat in Kiev. His concern that a medical crisis may have been enveloping him was obvious to some players on the Kiev pitch. Balotelli's mother, Silvia, recalls being told her adoptive son might have an allergy when he developed occasional leg rashes playing on artificial surfaces as a young boy and at that age mosquito bites would also cause him major swelling. Medical staff at Inter, who found him to be allergic to several medical products, concluded that Balotelli's susceptibility to allergies may have its roots in his childhood.

There is a frustration among some close to Balotelli that a potentially dangerous medical condition is being used to denigrate him again and City certainly feel that if a more obviously industrious player were to experience such problems then it would pass without comment. The occurrences are not frequent enough to suggest they will impede Balotelli's development.

In Italy, there appears to be more acceptance of Balotelli's problem. Only last weekend, the Lazio striker Giuseppe Sculli was taken to hospital during a 2-0 win over Palermo after suffering an allergic reaction to the paint used to colour the grass on the pitch. Lazio's coach, Edy Reja, said Sculli was "swelling up and turning pink, like a prawn" and was experiencing severe discomfort when his eyes became swollen. It is thought Sculli suffered the reaction when celebrating his goal by rolling about on the pitch with team-mates. In France, Bordeaux's Yoan Gouffran has been diagnosed with a grass allergy while golf's Ian Poulter revealed this week that he had been diagnosed as allergic to all but one of 64 types of grass.

Mancini is willing to show far more patience than Mourinho, though the fear is that the perpetual controversy which surrounds the striker may persuade him to yield to what is an obvious temptation this summer and swap Manchester for the greater security of Milan.

There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'