Mario Balotelli's agent has claimed the AC Milan striker has to do twice as much as other players due to the colour of his skin.
The Italian striker returned to the San Siro - on loan from Liverpool - in the summer but has not made an appearance since September due to a groin injury.
His absence had led to criticism from sections of Milan's fanbase but Raiola has fired back by claiming Balotelli and other black players have to work twice as hard to prove themselves in Italy.
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He went on to say that Italian football is 'light years' behind other nations in their acceptance of black players.
The agent told Tuttosport, as per the Mirror: "People judge Mario too much. He lives in a country that is not ready to have such a strong black player. Italy is light years behind other countries in that aspect.
"There is racism in football. Some of it is unconscious but black players have to do twice as much as others to prove themselves."
Balotelli's last performance for AC came in the 1-0 defeat to Genoa in September and he has only made four Serie A appearances since he embarked on his second spell with the Rossoneri.
The former Manchester City man has lost his place in the Italian national team and is on the verge of missing out on next summer's European Championships in France.
His future at Anfield is also up in the air. It appeared simple during Brendan Rodgers' tenure but Jurgen Klopp may have a different plan for Balotelli.
However, it has been some time since the 25-year-old produced a strong run of form and his time in the Italian capital will hardly raise expectations that he can ever be a success at Anfield.
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