Milan President Silvio Berlusconi claims he only called Mario Balotelli “a rotten apple” because he didn’t want to drive Manchester City’s price up.
The patron hit the headlines during January when he publicly stated that Balotelli was not the kind of person who would be welcome in the Rossoneri locker room.
“It was a strategy, advised by Adriano Galliani, to ensure the price-tag did not go up,” insisted Berlusconi in today’s Press conference.
“Today I spoke highly of Bojan Krkic and Galliani kicked me under the table! He’s right to keep an eye on these things.”
Inter’s organised ultras movement has released statements, flyers and posters urging their fans not to aim racist abuse at Balotelli during the Derby.
“It would be absurd and uncivilised, especially as Balotelli is an Italian. We should also change the laws to help people gain citizenship when they live and work here legally.
“I hope that Balotelli can continue to be the lad of simple pleasures that he is now. Off the field he is calm and relaxed, while he is a perfect professional in training and the locker room. I also like that our three strikers all have the same hairstyle, it’s their distinctive symbol.”
Berlusconi, whose PdL party is running for office during this weekend’s elections, also commented on various other players in the Milan squad.
“I have a lot of respect for Robinho. He has this aspiration to go back to Brazil, but we will try to keep hold of him.
“I really like Riccardo Montolivo, as I believe he is the Andrea Pirlo of today and tomorrow. He also plays well to help out the defence and is a lovely guy with an important presence in the locker room.
“Can we win the Scudetto? Let’s be prudent and remember our target is to build a competitive squad that can last for several years.
“We decided to use the same tactical system in every level of the youth academy and the team. In Europe only Ajax and Barcelona do that, so we put ourselves in line with this philosophy.”