Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Balotelli hits back at criticism, discrimination

25 June 2014, 18:43

Mangaratiba - Mario Balotelli has reacted to harsh criticism — some of it discriminatory — for Italy's group-stage exit from the World Cup, as the fallout turned into an ugly hunt for scapegoats on Wednesday.

"Balotelli was not the only one to lose but he was certainly disappointing," said Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, who oversees all sports in Italy.

Next to a video with someone saying, "Mario, you're really not Italian. Go away," Balotelli posted a long reply on Instagram.

"I'm Mario Balotelli. I'm 23 years old and I didn't choose to be Italian," Balotelli wrote. "I strongly wanted (to be Italian) because I was born in Italy and have always lived in ITALY."

Balotelli was born in Sicily to Ghanaian immigrants and brought up by an Italian foster family. He is constantly subjected to racist chants during matches in Italy.

The striker scored one of Italy's two goals in its opening 2-1 over England but then struggled in the 1-0 losses to Costa Rica and Uruguay.

"I was really motivated for this World Cup and I'm sad, angry and disappointed with myself," Balotelli added in Italian. "Sure, maybe I could have scored against Costa Rica. You're right but so what?"

Midway through the first half against Uruguay on Tuesday, Balotelli picked up his second yellow card in two matches for a needless foul on Alvaro Pereira. Balotelli practically leapt over the midfielder, hitting the back of his opponent's head with his left shin.

Coach Cesare Prandelli removed Balotelli for the second half of the match, after which both Prandelli and football federation president Giancarlo Abete resigned.

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon and veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi each alluded to problems with the squad's younger players.

"I support what Buffon said, that we veterans have the right spirit and we always accept responsibility," De Rossi said. "Whoever doesn't feel like making the same effort and doesn't have the same passion should say so and stay home."

Italy was also eliminated after the first round in 2010, when Balotelli was not selected for the squad.

The last time the Azzurri failed to advance from the group stages in two successive World Cups came between 1950 and 1966, when Italy was eliminated in the first round four successive times.

"I'm not going to allow the blame to be placed only on me this time because Mario Balotelli gave his all for the national team and didn't do anything wrong (character-wise)," Balotelli wrote.

"So look for another excuse because Mario Balotelli ... is prepared to move forward stronger than before and with his head held high, honored to have given his all for his country," he added. "Or maybe, like you say, I'm not Italian. Africans would never cast aside one of their 'brothers.' NEVER. ... There's no shame on who misses a goal or runs less or more."

Meanwhile, Italy needs to find a new coach and federation president. Former AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri and recently resigned Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini — who coached Balotelli at both Inter Milan and Manchester City — are being mentioned as possible replacements.

A federation meeting is scheduled for Monday to also deal with Abete's status.

But the national team isn't the only problem.

Italy's clubs struggle to compete with their rivals in Europe and the domestic game is ravaged by fan violence, match-fixing, crumbling stadiums and falling attendances.

Also Wednesday, a Napoli fan died after being shot during the violence which marred the buildup to the Italian Cup final in May. The death of 29-year-old Ciro Esposito came 50 days after he was shot in the chest, allegedly by a Roma fan.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- AP


Mikel: I respect Conte's decisions

26 October 2016, 20:51

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...