November 13, 2019
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Verona Ultras chief claims Balotelli ‘could never be totally Italian’ after striker threatens to walk off amid vile monkey chants The head of the Verona’s Ultras has said Brescia striker Mario Balotelli would never “be totally Italian” despite being born in the country, having Italian citizenship and playing for the national team.

The 29-year-old striker threatened to leave the pitch on Sunday during the Serie A match against Hellas Verona after being targeted by racist chants from the stands.

The forward picked up the ball and kicked it in the direction of the stands before walking off the field in the 54th minute. He was eventually persuaded by teammates and opposition players to continue, scoring towards the end of the game as his team lost 2-1.

Balotelli, who was born in Italy to Ghanaian migrants, staged a protest against the racial abuse from the fans, with later video footage picking up monkey chants being directed at him. 

After the incident, the leader of Hellas Verona‘s Ultras stated that they don’t view the player as an Italian despite his Italian passport and 36 appearances for the national team.

“Balotelli is Italian because he has Italian citizenship but he will never be able to be totally Italian,” Luca Castellini .

“We have a n***o in our team and he scored yesterday and all of Verona applauded,” he replied when asked about whether their chants were racist, referring to Hellas’ 18-year-old forward Eddie Salced.

Hellas Verona president Maurizio Sett also denied there had been any racism directed at Balotelli, saying: “The Verona fans are special and they have a sympathetic way of joking with people. But racism doesn‘t exist. And if it exists we would be the first to denounce it…We have a lot of players of colour so we denounce racism. Let me repeat: today nothing happened on the pitch.”

Conrad Contributor