Balotelli hits back at racist ‘idiots’ after Verona abuse

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Balotelli's response to racist abuse

Brescia striker Mario Balotelli has fired back at the racist “idiots” who abused him over the weekend during a Serie A tie with Hellas Verona.

Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey noises during the Serie A match at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

The referee stopped playing and followed the procedure, read a prepared statement about the public address system, while players from both sides persuaded Balotelli to play on.

Serie A has since enforced a one-match partial stadium closure while Verona have banned the leader of their ultras for 11 years, despite head coach Ivan Juric claiming no racist chanting took place.

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Balotelli reserved his anger for the individuals responsible for the abuse.

“I didn’t accuse Verona, I didn’t accuse the Verona curva, I accused the few idiots who did it. I heard them,” Balotelli told SportMediaset programme Le Iene.

“It wasn’t two or three, because I heard them from the pitch. If I don’t react, nothing happens. It’s not a mistake, it’s a serious matter.

“I tell the truth, the Verona stadium and the Verona fans are also nice to me, with their banter. But if you want to distract a player, you can do it in a thousand ways. Not like this. This is not good.”

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Balotelli, who scored for Brescia in the 2-1 defeat, said the treatment was particularly hurtful as his daughter had been watching on television.

“It makes it three times worse,” he said. “It’s already happened to her. You can’t insult a child with words like that. Education and respect come from us adults.

“I’m not saying that I am different from the other players who have had the same noises and the same howls, but the problem is that I am Italian, and I want to be back in the national team.”

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