Balotelli kicks ball into stand, tries to walk off after racist abuse in Serie A
Mario Balotelli attempted to walk off the pitch after being subjected to racist abuse during Brescia’s match at Verona in Serie A.
The furious Italian kicked the ball into the stands and made for the tunnel at Stadio Bentegodi, but his teammates remonstrated and urged him to continue.
The referee halted the match early during the second half while a statement imploring fans to halt racist chanting was read out over the speakers.
After a short delay, play resumed with Balotelli taking his place in the Brescia attack. The 29-year-old later curled home a delightful goal from distance, although it was a consolation in a 2-1 defeat.
Mario Balotelli v VeronaGetty Images
Verona coach Ivan Juric denied hearing anything offensive from the stands.
“I am not afraid to say there were no racist chants today," Juric told Sky Sport Italia.
"They might have jeered and mocked the great player, but there was nothing there...
“You can ask him, there was nothing there. I am disgusted by racist abuse and I will be the first to condemn it when it happens, but this was not it.
“They provoked him with jeers and sarcastic chants, but they were not racist. Anything else is a lie."
It was the second time this weekend that a Serie A match has been interrupted because of offensive chants.
Roma’s game against Napoli on Saturday was briefly halted because of discriminatory chants from the home supporters about the city of Naples.
Additional reporting from Reuters