Mario Balotelli believes he “would’ve had fewer problems and been forgiven earlier” if he had been white, but insists Italy “is not a racist country.”
The Nice striker hasn’t played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup and has surprisingly not been recalled even by interim boss Gigi Di Biagio.
“In some stadiums, people chanted ‘There are no black Italians’ at me, yet I am the proof that there are,” SuperMario told So Foot in France.
“Even if I am Italian, born and raised in Italy, the law states I only became Italian once I reached the age of 18. The law is wrong and that is perhaps why to this day some people see black as the colour of diversity, of inferiority of an error in the middle of a team photograph.
“I think that if I had been white, I’d have had fewer problems. Perhaps I did cause some of my own problems and had the wrong attitude at times, but would I have been forgiven quicker? Absolutely yes.”
Yet Balotelli does have hope for the future and insists the issue is not as widespread as some think.
“Italy is not a racist country, but it does have some racists in it. The change is in the hands of the next generation and we must teach our children that everyone is the same, despite apparent differences.”
Balo caused controversy on social media when criticising the first black senator to be elected in Italy, because he was part of the anti-immigration Lega Nord party.
“That party isn’t exactly beyond reproach when it comes to racism… That man was used and he didn’t realise it, because that way the Lega can say there are black Italians who see things the way they do.
“The main point is to reiterate that there are black Italians. There are Italians and that’s it. Stop. That senator can’t be passed off as an exception, otherwise we are back to the beginning again. If he’d been elected for any other party, I would’ve had nothing to say.”