The Brescia striker booted the ball into the stands and was visibly upset after fans racially abused him in the 2-1 defeat to Verona at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. It appeared that Balotelli initially wished to walk off the pitch before players seemed to console him during the ensuing stoppage of play.
Luca Castellini, leader of the Hellas Verona ultras who were accused of the abuse, issued a disgusting statement via local radio that contradicted itself on numerous occasions, called Balotelli a “clown” and claims he is not fully Italian, played the abuse off as without “political or racist intentions,” and said the chants were “voices in [Balotelli’s] own head.” Verona president Maurizio Setti also refused to condemn the fans, saying the crowd was “light-hearted, not racist” and had “real sport in its DNA.”
Balotelli has since responded to Castellini’s words on Instagram, where he took to thank his teammates and supporters, who he said “you have proven to be true men, unlike those who deny the evidence.”
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Grazie a tutti i colleghi in campo e non per la solidarietà avuta nei miei confronti e a tutti i messaggi ricevuti da voi tifosi.. grazie di cuore.Avete dimostrato di essere veri uomini non come chi nega l’evidenza . #notoracism✊🏾✊🏾 #forzabrescia⚪️🔵🦁 #testaallaprossimapartita #noinonciarrendiamo
He then used his Instagram Story to provide further commentary, including a fan video of the incident where monkey chanting can be heard just before Balotelli kicks the ball into the stands. Balotelli himself writes, “Here, my friends, this has nothing to do with football anymore. 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.” To the claims that he is not Italian, he wrote, “But when Mario scored and still guarantees to score goals for Italy, you were fine with it?” He states, “these ‘people’ must be cast out by society, not just by football.”
He finished off his posts with, “Just leave it alone. Enough. Enough.”
Balotelli scored in the loss – his second goal of the Serie A season – in the defeat to Hellas Verona, although the club was unable to snap its six-match winless run.