Normally we’d focus on the flailing Italian national side, a team struggling to rebuild after too many years relying on aging players and outdated systems. Instead, the Italians we’d like to focus on now are the small group of hate-filed idiots who felt it necessary to cross the border into Austria with the express purpose of making monkey chants at Mario Balotelli. His own countrymen travelled out of the country, unfurled a banner that read “No to a multi-ethnic national team”, then hooted like apes at one of their nation’s most promising attacking players. (By the way, though born in Italy he’s of Ghanaian descent).
Understandably, Balotelli is fed up. Sure he’s a prick, but this sort of treatment is simply unacceptable. In his own words:
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say. If I have to hear those chants every time, you can’t go forward like that. I leave others to do the judgment. I am happy to be in the national team. It wouldn’t be right to stop a game because a few fans that turn up to the stadium behave like that. We need to change these people but it’s not me that has to do it. Where I live, the people don’t reason like these people. A multi-ethnic Italy already exists and we can do better.”
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli had some words on the matter, too:
“I feel disappointment and anger. We always hear these chants and something has to be done about it. We feel helpless. He [Balotelli] has the support of everyone.”
“This national team is open to anyone who is an Italian citizen.”