Mario Balotelli might have left the shores of Britain, but he is yet to shake off the slew of controversies around him. Sadly, the recent nature of controversies associated with the young striker hardly evokes laughter and banter.
It all started when AC Milan chief Silvio Berlusconi’s brother Paolo quite explicitly let know of what he thinks of Balotelli by referring to him as “negretto della famiglia”, the family’s little nigger in plain English. If this was the opening salvo from Balotelli’s own team, arch-rivals Inter Milan fans have responded in a further unsavoury way.
According to reports, Inter Milan fans were vocally abusing Balotelli in the weekend’s encounter against Chievo. What makes it a much more galling affair is that the player in question was not even party to the game, even though it is hardly a mitigating factor for such barbaric abuse.
Thankfully, the Internazionale president Massimo Moratti expressed his apologies unconditionally. Speaking to the official website of the club, Moratti said:
“I was told about it because I couldn’t make out clearly what they were saying. I’m very sorry about that, I’m very sorry and I really hope it doesn’t happen during the derby.”
Even the trenchant critics of the temperamental striker cannot put the blame on Mario for such unwarranted racial taunts. Kevin Prince Boateng recently took a firm stand against racist chants from the terraces, when he rejected to take any further part in a friendly match after being subject to vile chants.
It seems no amount of monetary punishments or policing are having an impact on combating racism on the game, and emulating Boateng’s precedent remain the lone hope for footballers facing jibes based on the color of their skin.
Serie A giants AC Milan, however, have taken some placatory steps by quickly arranging a photo-op between Paolo Berlusconi and Balotelli when both were photographed shaking hands in the Milan training complex on Friday. However, no amount of ‘curated’ events can put a lid on the events the 22-year old has been part of since his arrival home!