Mario Balotelli Kicks Ball Into Crowd And Walks Off Pitch After Racist Abuse From Hellas Verona Fans
Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was subject to racist abuse during the club's Serie A fixture with Hellas Verona on Sunday afternoon.
The Italian striker was targeted throughout the game from fans inside the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi and in the 50th minute, he kicked the ball towards the crowd and almost stormed off the pitch.
Balotelli was eventually persuaded to return by his teammates as the referee halted play.
A statement was read out via the public tannoy system to try and stop the situation developing.
Following racist abuse from Hellas Verona fans, Mario Balotelli kicked the ball into the stands.- ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 3, 2019
His teammates and match officials convinced the striker to remain on the pitch :pray: pic.twitter.com/OcXarycXbK
Balotelli eventually finished the game, even scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute to silence the crowd.
Brescia fell to a 2-1 defeat against Verona, who picked up all three points thanks to goals from Eddie Salcedo and Matteo Pessina, but the vulgar racist abuse overshadowed the game.
Satisfying goal for Balotelli.
Him and Hellas Verona have bad blood going back years.
Once they were warned before the game not to racially abuse him so responded by chanting his name throughout the match and cheering him every time he touched the ball. https://t.co/Wisllau53W
- Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) November 3, 2019
This isn't the first time Balotelli has been subject to racist abuse in Italy, and the striker revealed how he was even targeted with racial slurs when he was a kid.
The 28-year-old Italy international candidly spoke about his time growing up in Brescia, Lombardy, which included the horrible treatment he received from others around him.
"When you are young, you don't understand why other kids are being mean," he said via Get French Football News.
"How do you tell a five-year-old what racism is? If you do that, you ruin their childhood, in my opinion.
"I remember at school, a kid asked me laughing if I had a white or black heart. I remember saying to him, I don't know.
"I asked my mum and dad and they explained to me that my birth parents were from Africa and that all Africans were black, but not different.
"Where I grew up, in Brescia, there were maybe four or five black kids in the whole town.
"In football, I would always be left out, even at school. Then I had a different character to others also. If anything ever went wrong, it was my fault. Little things like that.
"When I was 13 or 14, I heard my first racist insults. I was arguing with someone on the pitch and then it started: 'Oh, look it is the n*****. Go back to your country.'"