Balotelli hits out at racists: You deserve to be alone until you die

Nice striker Mario Balotelli has hit back after receiving racist messages via social media.

The striker, who has struggled for form this season, has never shied away from such controversy in the past and once again launched a defence of himself after being the victim of unsavoury words.

Posting on Instagram, the Italy international said in Italian: “That’s enough. You, the racists, deserve only one thing: to live alone until death, without anyone thinking of you, that no one will miss you and you’ll die without being remembered. You are part of the sickness in this world.

“Come and tell me these things to my face, we’ll see if the screen of your telephone will continue to protect you.”

Balotelli has a long history with racist abuse, having had bananas thrown at him by Italian fans prior to the 2009 European Under-21 Championship, while Juventus supporters sang: ‘There are no black Italians’ during a Serie A fixture with which he played with Inter that same year.

By the time he was ready to turn out for Italy at the 2012 European Championships, he was asked what might happen if someone threw a banana at him. He replied: “I will go to jail, because I will kill them.”

Since moving to France, the problem has continued to dog him. Bastia were forced to play behind closed doors for three home matches after their fans aimed monkey chants at him, while earlier this year Balotelli was booked for protesting to the referee after he was the subject to more abuse during a Ligue 1 fixture against Dijon.

The 28-year-old striker’s troubles on the field in Le Championnat, however, have centred around his form, with Patrick Vieira taking a dig at the forward in the aftermath of the club’s 1-0 win over nine-man Nimes on Saturday, which saw the Italy star blow a kiss at the home fans when he was substituted midway through the second half.


Vieira calls out ‘less than average’ Balotelli after narrow Nice win

Nice coach Patrick Vieira has called out striker Mario Balotelli for a “less than average” performance in their 1-0 win at Nimes on Saturday.

The visitors had an early numerical advantage as Faitout Maouassa was sent off with his second yellow card just 20 minutes into the game, before Nimes team-mate Loic Landre was shown a red just before half-time.

Still, it took until after the hour mark for Nice to find the lead through Youcef Atal, whose goal proved enough to earn Nice a third consecutive win in Ligue 1.

With two shots on target before his substitution 15 minutes before the end, Balotelli had a quiet game once again and is yet to find the net or set up a goal this season.

But Vieira felt Balotelli, along with the rest of his side should have made a bigger impact on the game and hopes to see better in the future.

“It’s been a tough and complicated match for Nice, we’ve suffered a lot, it’s been less than an average match,” he told reporters. “We take the three points, but we come home with the feeling that there is still a lot of work to be done. In the future, we will have to produce better displays than tonight to continue our progress.

“We didn’t put enough pressure on our opponent. Just like Mario Balotelli, we were less than average.”

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Italy international Balotelli was unhappy at being taken off, but Vieira had seen enough as he called on the forward to work for his team.

“It’s good that he is angry because he does not want to come off,” he said. “His goal may be at the next game, but what’s important is how he worked for the goal. I’m not worried about that side of things, what worries me is the team and how he continues to work for the team.”

Balotelli had cut a frustrated figure during the match, clapping the home fans when they jeered him for making a misplaced pass early in the second half then blowing a kiss to them as he walked off when he was replaced.


Vieira: Balotelli the same now as he was at 16

Nice coach Patrick Vieira believes Mario Balotelli is the same person he was at 16 years old, and will be so even when he is in his mid-40s.

Balotelli, 28, has played just three games for the Ligue 1 club this season after returning to training late.

Vieira and Balotelli were teammated at Inter Milan from 2007-10 and then playe dtogether once again at Manchester City from 2010-11.

The Italy international’s character and maturity have been questioned in the past and Vieira said he had seen little change in Balotelli, nor did he expect to.

“Mario was already the man he is now when he was 16 years old,” he said on Friday.

“I think he’ll be the same at 45.”

Balotelli scored 17 goals in his first season in France before firing 26 goals in 38 matches in 2017-18.

The forward has yet to score yet this season, though, in his brief time on the field.

Vieira has been happy with how Balotelli has bounced back this season and said the forward would be part of Nice’s squad for their meeting with Marseille on Sunday.

“He worked really well,” he said.

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“There is no secret recipe. As soon as you have the will to do well and you don’t lie to yourself, there is a structure in place to make him work properly. That’s exactly what he’s done for the last two to three weeks.

“He’ll be in the group against Marseille because I was very pleased by the way he worked and got involved during the training sessions. That’s why he’ll be in the group.”

Nice are 12th in the Ligue 1 table after winning three of their opening nine games in league play.


Balotelli out of Italy squad as Giovinco returns

Sebastian Giovinco has won his first Italy call-up for three years, but Mario Balotelli has been left out of the latest squad.

Toronto striker Giovinco, who has 23 senior caps, has not featured in international football since October 2015, when he was a substitute in a 2-1 win over Norway in Euro 2016 qualifying.

The 31-year-old is joined in coach Roberto Mancini’s latest squad by Sampdoria’s Gianluca Caprari, who is called up for the first time, while Marco Verratti, Alessandro Florenzi, Patrick Cutrone and Danilo D’Ambrosio return.

Nice striker Balotelli has been omitted after a difficult start to the season in Ligue 1, as has Torino forward Andrea Belotti.

Italy face Ukraine in a friendly in Genoa on October 10, before they travel to face Poland in a Nations League match four days later.

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Italy squad:

Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino); Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan); Nicolo Barella (Cagliari), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (AC Milan), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain); Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Gianluca Caprari (Sampdoria), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Simone Zaza (Torino).


Vieira drops Balotelli from Nice squad

Mario Balotelli has been dropped from the Nice squad for their Ligue 1 match with Toulouse.

Balotelli is absent from the 18-man group named by coach Patrick Vieira for Friday’s clash.

A statement on Nice’s website announcing the squad said only that Balotelli was absent due to Vieira’s decision.

Balotelli missed pre-season with Nice as his future with the club was unclear, Marseille among the teams linked with signing the striker.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini said last month Balotelli is having fitness issues and Nice team-mate Dante said this week the 28-year-old returned from holiday “with some extra weight”.

Vieira also noted fitness issues for the Italy international, saying in September that Balotelli had “a lot of work to do”, though he praised the striker’s attitude at the time. 

Reports of Balotelli being fine for his weight also circulated, though he called those claims “invented garbage” on Instagram. 

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Balotelli has made two Ligue 1 starts this season and was on the bench for Nice’s last match, a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain. 

The striker came off at the bench in that defeat but is yet to score this season, having hit 33 league goals across two previous campaigns with Nice, including 18 last season.

Nice picked up just one point in their first three contests of the season, but have won three of their last five games and sit in 13th place in the Ligue 1 table on 10 points.