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'This is the end,' tweets Balotelli after penalty miss

AC Milan's Mario Balotelli takes a penalty which was saved during their Italian Serie A soccer match against Genoa at San Siro stadium in Mi
AC Milan's Mario Balotelli takes a penalty which was saved during their Italian Serie A soccer match against Genoa at San Siro stadium in Mi

(Reuters) - Mario Balotelli confounded his followers again on Sunday by tweeting "this is the end" hours after missing a penalty in AC Milan's 1-1 draw against Genoa.

The maverick striker, who did not immediately enlarge on the message, tweeted in English at about 0500 local time on his account @finallymario.

However, six hours later he sent out another tweet in Italian which read: "Forza Milan comunque e sempre." ('Go on Milan, no matter how and forever').

The Gazzetta dello Sport speculated that Balotelli could have been referring to a possible transfer in the January window or that he was hinting that Milan's beleaguered coach Massimiliano Allegri could face the sack.

Balotelli, who saw his kick saved by Mattia Perin in the 36th minute against Genoa with the score at 1-1, famously wore a T-shirt with the words "Why always me?" during his days with Manchester City, which were marked by a series of controversies and confusions.

Balotelli's wacky antics, such as blowing up his bathroom with fireworks or walking into a school asking for the toilet, gave British newspapers endless fodder during his two-and-a-half years at Manchester City.

He has been relatively subdued at Milan although he was reprimanded for smoking in the toilet of a high-speed train as the team travelled to an away match and was recently banned for three games for an angry outburst at a referee.

The pressure of playing for a struggling Milan now appears to be getting to the player who has missed two penalties this season, having previously enjoyed a perfect record from the spot.

MISSED PENALTY

Milan have failed to win in their last seven games in all competitions and are 11th in Serie A, five points ahead of Sampdoria in the relegation zone. They also face a potentially decisive match away to Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"Balotelli's missed penalty was the key," said chief executive Adriano Galliani on Milan's website (www.acmilan.com). "If he had scored we would have won.

"They didn't have a shot on target all night and they definitely wouldn't have had with us in the lead and with 10 men on the pitch.

"We have to move forward now. The positive note was Kaka's incredible performance. That's life. It just goes like that sometimes."

Brazilian Kaka scored Milan's opening goal in the fourth minute.

"We have to give something extra at the moment. There's a lot of respect towards the fans and we definitely have to get out of this situation," said the phlegmatic coach.

"We're suffering a lot as a result of our league position and we have to get out of it soon. We're all disappointed."

"There's a lot of work to do and you need patience. The fans have to stay behind us and together we'll get out of this situation.

"Today Kaka played as an all-round midfielder. He adds value to everyone's play. He's a really great player and an incredible athlete for what he gives to the team."

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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