Mario Balotelli, an Italian professional football player for AC Milan, has been the victim of heckling by racist fans throughout his career. He has faced monkey chants and had bananas thrown at him during matches.
CNN reporter Pedro Pinto spoke to the 22-year-old Balotelli about his feelings as he continuously experiences racism. He is clearly troubled by the abuse.
“After what happened at the last game, I felt a little bit alone,” he said. During a game against A.S. Roma in May the club’s supporters repeated racist chants at Balotelli. They were fined and ordered to shut down part of their stadium for one game next season.
Balotelli has remained passive about the attacks from the stands up until this point. But he can no longer be quiet about it. “I changed my mind and said if it’s gonna happen one more time, I’m gonna lift the peace because it’s so stupid,” he explained.
But he remained mum, when asked if he felt authorities were doing enough to protect players.
FIFA recently made punishments more strict for teams and fans who show serious racist abuse toward players. New regulations may leave a team banned from competing in a tournament if the club or its fans show repeat offenses.
In other news, Balotelli may have been engaged to girlfriend Fanny Neguesha, according to photos she recently shared of a new ring on her left hand.
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