Football: Balotelli urges Italy to address racism after chants

Rome, 18 Nov. (AKI) - Striker Mario Balotelli has told Italy to address the problem of racism after some Italian fans targeted him with racist chants during Wednesday's 1-1 draw in a friendly against Romania.

The fans directed monkey chants at 20-year-old Italian, who transferred to Manchester City from Inter Milan in August in a 22 million pound deal.

Some of the fans held up a banner reading 'No to a multiethnic national team' during the friendly in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt. Others sang: "There are no Italian blacks."

But the player who is known for his volatile nature gave a measured response on Thursday.

"If these people haven't realised, they should resign themselves. Italy is already a multiethnic nation, already exists," Balotelli said.

Balotelli was born in the Sicilian city of Palermo to Ghanian parents and adopted by a family from a town near Brescia.

It is not the first time he has suffered racial abuse from Italians, and was frequently abused at Seria A matches when he played for Inter (photo).

"With time I learnt that the worst thing you can do to those who insult you is to ignore them, so I am saying nothing," Balotelli said.

Italian police who travelled to Austria with the Azurri identified 41 followers of the neo-Fascist group Ultra Italia.

Italy coach urged Balotelli to be given more support, including from his team mates.

"Everyone know that my national team with always be multiethnic," Prandelli stated.

Immigrants now make up some 7 percent of Italy's population.


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