Mario Balotelli has addressed the racist abuse he suffered at the hands of “ignorant” Hellas Verona ultras by saying it’s more than just about football.
The 29-year-old Italian marksman, who returned to Serie A this summer by joining Brescia, threatened to walk off the field after receiving abuse in their 2-1 defeat at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
Balotelli’s response to latest racial abuse suffered: Five key things to know…
- Mario Balotelli was racially abused by Verona ultras over the weekend.
- He would score in a 2-1 defeat at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.
- Before that moment Balotelli threatened to walk off after being showered by abuse from the stands.
- Verona manager Ivan Juric, head of the ultras and even the town mayor all denied Balotelli’s account.
- The 36-timed capped Italian international would address the abuse he received on social media: calling out the “ignorant” ultras whilst saying this is more than about football.
During the final 45 minutes, the former Manchester City striker kicked the ball into the stands before storming off the pitch, his teammates and opponents would try and calm him down whilst referee Maurizio Mariani subsequently followed protocol by stopping play for a few minutes.
A statement would be read out as the game was temporarily halted informing those in attendance it would be suspended if the racist chanting does not stop. Such reality, though, was denied by Verona manager Ivan Juric, head of the ultras and even the town mayor all of whom suggesting Balotelli misheard.
Balotelli, naturally was apoplectic, such behaviour has dogged him in his homeland since turning professional. He would make his feelings known on social media stressing this is bigger than football.
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“Listen, my friends, this is not about football anymore,” he wrote on his Instagram page.
“You are implying about a social and historical situation much bigger than you small-minded people. You guys are losing it. Wake up, you ignorant people.”
The 36-time capped Azzurri international also documented the inflammatory language used by his abusers questioning their hypocrisy.
“But when Mario scored and still guarantees to score goals for Italy, you were fine with it?” he added.
As a result of the Balotelli incident, Verona have been hit with a partial stadium closure for one game by Serie A’s disciplinary commission. At the same time, the club have also banned the head of their ultras until 2030.