Mario Balotelli threatens to walk off pitch if he suffers racist abuse
AC Milan star Mario Balotelli says he will leave the pitch if he suffers racist abuse from opposition fans again
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has threatened to walk off the pitch if he suffers racial abuse again.
The controversial Italy international has been the victim of racial abuse in Serie A since moving from Manchester City in January - the latest incident occurring against AS Roma last weekend, when the match had to be halted for two minutes while officials and announcers tried to silence the racist chants.
"I was about to leave the pitch on Sunday but they are going to think that I wanted to leave because maybe we had some difficulty with the game," the Italy striker told Italian news channel SkyTG24 on Friday.
"I said it's better we play and then we talk, but if it wasn't for this reason I was going to leave the pitch."
Balotelli, who has scored 11 league goals in 12 Serie A appearances, also told reporters earlier in the week that he would leave the pitch if it were to happen again.
"If it happens one more time, I'm going to leave the pitch, because it's so stupid," he said.
However, the Italian Referee’s Association’s president, Marcello Nicchi, said that Balotelli will be sent off if he were to protest by walking off the pitch.
"Everyone is free to express their own opinions but there are rules. Whoever leaves the field to make a protest, without warning the referee or without being substituted will be sent off," Nicchi said.
"Less importance has to be given to this phenomenon as a media event and more importance from what can be done realistically, be tough and uncompromising with the idiots who sing these shameful chants."
Balotelli travels with the Rossoneri to Siena on Sunday evening - and there are fears that a similar incident could happen.
Milan need just a point from their final match of the season to guarantee third place. A draw could allow fourth-placed Fiorentina to leapfrog them into the Champions League spots, while Juventus and Napoli have already secured first and second place, respectively.
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