Italy striker Mario Balotelli says he is growing fed up with hearing racist abuse, after being subjected to taunts – reportedly from his own fans – during the 1-1 friendly draw with Romania.
Balotelli, 20, earned his second Azzurri cap on Wednesday but the Manchester City forward’s appearance was obvershadowed by abusive chants, directed at him every time he touched the ball.
The game was being played in Austria, but it is believed that most of the abuse directed at Balotelli, who is the son of Brescia-based Ghanaian immigrants, came from Italy supporters.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say,” Balotelli told Mediaset. “If I have to hear those chants every time, you can’t go forward like that. I leave others to do the judgment. I am happy to be in the national team.”
While at Inter, Balotelli was frequently the victim of racist chants from rival fans and, in April 2009, Juventus had to play a match behind closed doors as punishment for the racist chanting a section of their fans directed at him.
“It wouldn’t be right to stop a game because a few fans that turn up to the stadium behave like that,” he said. “We need to change these people but it’s not me that has to do it.
“Where I live, the people don’t reason like these people. A multi-ethnic Italy already exists and we can do better.”
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he was “disgusted” by the latest abuse that Balotelli received.
“I feel disappointment and anger. We always hear these chants and something has to be done about it. We feel helpless. He [Balotelli] has the support of everyone.”
Italy federation president Giancarlo Abete also handed his support to the striker.
“This is something that must be condemned,” Abete said. “This is unacceptable behaviour.”