Fans of Brescia have criticized Mario Balotelli after the Italian international was racially abused during last Sunday’s match against Hellas Verona.
Balotelli threatened to leave the pitch during his side’s 2-1 loss, picking up the ball in the second half and kicking it towards the fans that were directing monkey chants at him.
The 29-year-old had to be consoled by his Brescia teammates and opposition players, who eventually persuaded him to continue playing.
But the Brescia 1911-Ex Curva Nord, a fringe ultra group, have criticized their own player and labeled him arrogant.
“The fact that he lives in Brescia and wears our jersey, however, does not raise him above everything and everyone and the arrogance that seems to shine through him all the time is not justifiable, especially when you wear it on the pitch and it becomes a cause for destabilization for the team and tension and embarrassment for the fans,” the statement reads.
Brescia is second from bottom in Serie A and in a relegation fight to stay in Italian football’s top flight. The club’s coach Eugenio Corini was sacked after the Verona defeat and was replaced by Fabio Grosso
“If he was not psychologically ready to face supporters like those in Verona and — above all — a delicate game as that of last Sunday, in which a city (Brescia) played to stay in Serie A and manager — who is among the most beloved of all — was playing his last chance, he had to say it aloud and give way to someone less nervous than himself; nobody would have been p****d off, on the contrary,” added the Brescia 1911-Ex Curva Nord statement.
“This obviously does not mean that some chants are legitimate and acceptable, but neither that Verona fans are all racists and that the Verona curva is a sort of KKK den, as some would make people believe (this is also demonstrated by the fact that to ‘seriously’ provoke Balotelli were only a few fans, also not linked to the main chants of the curva).”
Brescia was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN.