Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has apologised for the comments he made towards Mario Balotelli earlier in the week. 

Prandelli had said that the players would not be allowed out of their Salvador hotel due to protests in the city, but Balotelli was an exception "because his colour is different to ours".

Prandelli apologised by saying "it was only a joke. Of course." 

Balotelli had been involved in charity work in the area, helping children from the poorest areas of the city of Salvador. Balotelli had, according to Prandelli, been mobbed on his way into town.

The Azzuri boss had admitted that he was worried about the ongoing protests, which began earlier in the week aimed to draw attention to problems with rising transport prices, and also corruption. 

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that the protests were pointless, and that using a football tournament to highlight them would not work.

Prandelli did admit that the rumours of Italy returning home were entirely false, despite his wariness of escalating violence in the region. 


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