El Shaarawy: The ethnicity of myself and Balotelli is irrelevant to our Italy displays

The Azzurri international says his and his strike partner’s ethnic background does not matter nearly as much as their form on the pitch for club and country

Stephan El Shaarawy has said that both his and Mario Balotelli’s ethnic background is not as important as their performances as professional footballers.

The Milan forward’s father is Egyptian, whilst his fellow strike partner, Balotelli, has parents who were of Ghanaian descent.

But El Shaarawy, who was speaking before Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi delivered a racial slur towards Balotelli, believes that neither player’s origins matter as they are committed to giving their all for the Italian national side.

“It does not matter that I have a foreign name, the only important thing is that I was born in Italy and want to do well for the national team,” El Shaarawy told reporters ahead of their friendly with the Netherlands on Wednesday.

“Mario and I have a relationship that goes beyond football – we have a beautiful friendship.”

The 20-year-old also believes that Balotelli’s arrival at Milan will signal the beginning of a great partnership between the pair.

“I hope to become a major player alongside Mario – we are doing well, but we must continue together and work hard.

“I am happy that Balotelli has debuted for Milan and did really well. Allegri had to change the system to get the best out of both us – and I think we repaid his trust.”

Balotelli, who was signed from Manchester City towards the end of the transfer window, scored both goals on his debut as Milan overcame Udinese 2-1 at San Siro.

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