Mario Balotelli warned Italy fans “one day you might need me, but after years of being insulted, denigrated and underestimated, I might refuse to go.”
The Olympique Marseille striker was left out of the squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Finland and Liechtenstein, having only recently found form at club level after the January exit from Nice.
After a message of encouragement for Juventus striker Moise Kean, who just scored his first senior Italy goal, Balotelli then turned to his critics on Instagram Stories.
“Have you ever thought that, and it might never happen, but one day you could need me and I’d be ready the same way I have been for the last three years, but hearing some of you insulting, denigrating and underestimating me over the years, I might be tired emotionally and therefore refuse to go?
“I am not a robot, nor an epidemic or even an idiot… many times I don’t reply to avoid problems and unnecessary tension, but I hear and see it all, it accumulates and I get fed up too.
“I just ask that you respect me as much as I respect Italy and then we’ll be fine… I don’t expect to be mollycoddled or considered a phenomenon, but I guarantee that you could only get the best out of me with respect, because I am doing nothing to warrant this disrespect…
“So I ask you nicely before moving to demanding it.”