Allegri: Racism in football has to stop

The AC Milan boss has called for the problem to be stamped out for the benefit of the game’s young fans following abuse directed at Mario Balotelli last week

Massimiliano Allegri has condemned the racist chanting from Fiorentina fans directed towards Mario Balotelli last week, and called on the sport to eradicate the issue.

Balotelli was subjected to abusive chants during the 2-2 at Artemio Franchi last Sunday, and the AC Milan boss has urged for the problem to be brought to an end in order to encourage younger fans to attend matches.

“I heard them [the chants] and I hope that last Sunday was the last time it happens. If we want to bring families and children to the stadium, things have to change. Fiorentina were fined,” Allegri told a press conference.

Allegri then praised his side for coming back from a poor start to their campaign, insisting that their strong finish to the season bodes well for the future.

“We got 58 points after a disastrous start to the season and that’s thanks to the players. They now have the chance to get into next season’s Champions League. We played well against Chievo and against Fiorentina we made some mistakes that we shouldn’t have. The team will grow as a result of that. We should think now that we’re ahead of Fiorentina, Inter, Lazio and Roma.

“It’ll be a tough game [against Napoli] as they have four points on us and we have to get a result. They have done great things in the last three years and they’re better now than they were two seasons ago.

“I think it’ll be an open game. We didn’t start well but they’re having a great season and have been more consistent. Our objective is to get into the Champions League through the second place spot. These are 50/50 games and we’ll have to be better on the ball that we’ll have to be without it.”

Balotelli will be absent for the clash due to the three-match suspension incurred last Sunday, but Allegri is in no doubt that Giampaolo Pazzini is more than capable of filling the void.

“Pazzini is important for the goals that he scores, he has 13 so far,” Allegri continued. “He’s a reliable player and a great professional. Unfortunately for him he’s had some problems with his knee and so sometimes it’s a bit tough for him to be available for every match.”

Milan can take a giant stride towards returning to the Champions League with a win against the Partenopei, but Allegri feels Italian sides must be patient in their efforts to challenge for Europe’s top honour following the dominant display of Spanish and German sides this season.

“At the moment, the Spanish and the German leagues are ahead of the Italian and the English leagues. We have to be patient. We played well and forced Barcelona to play a really great game. When Milan gets knocked out of Europe, it gets more coverage as the team have won a lot in European competitions. Now the Spanish and the Germans are ahead of us for various reasons and we have to accept that.”

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