Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli has reacted with annoyance but backed Mario Balotelli over a claim that he dealt drugs a few years back in Naples ‘as a joke’.
A witness in the stand at a Camorra trial has claimed today that the current Milan striker, upon visiting the Scampia district in Naples back in June 2010, witnessed some drug deals occurring and wanted to be involved in selling to a customer ‘as a joke’.
Balotelli reportedly responded via his verified Twitter account in a posting that has since been deleted: “Ha, now I sell drugs! Shame, do not use my name for an audience.”
The issue emerged just before a scheduled Press conference for his Italian head Coach Prandelli, so inevitably it was brought up.
“It seems to me that Mario has responded, there’s nothing else to say,” commented Prandelli today.
“It is a topic that does not interest me at all. When he wants to talk to you, he will tell you what he thinks.
“Considering this topic is sensitive, there are serious matters and here we are talking about a joke.
“We would always want to talk about football in a critical manner, but when dealing with other topics there is always trouble, these are serious issues and it is unclear if these are allegations or otherwise, for us what applies is what Mario has said.”
The Azzurri are currently in training ahead of Friday’s international friendly against San Marino.
“We have a few problems of muscular nature, four or five players who should recover, but if we want to understand who is available we will have to wait until the final training session.
“Mario has trained well today, some time with the ball, and I think that he may be available. El Shaarawy, Montolivo and Barzagli, however, will not be in the game.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition  - £10,000 to be won!