Brescia President Massimo Cellino admits “If Mario Balotelli leaves, we all lose” following a controversy-ridden few weeks for the striker.
Balotelli has been in the eye of the storm in recent weeks, with the former Inter and Milan hitman first suffering racist chants from Verona fans last month.
That was then followed up with remarks from Cellino, which could be construed as racist.
Cellino was speaking to satirical TV show Le Iene, where he stressed Brescia could not afford to let the 29-year-old slip away.
“I wanted to play things down, maybe I did a little too much...” explained the former Leeds United owner.
“I meant to say that if you [journalists] don't like the way he is, what should this lad do? He must clear things up.
“I didn’t offend Mario. When my joke was interpreted the way it was, I was more worried about how Balotelli would come out of it than anything else.
“My phrase was exploited, but undoubtedly I said something stupid.
“Mario is sad because he can’t express himself through his football. Mario makes it seem like he is a warrior that can take everyone on, but he isn’t like that.
“You see a man who stands six foot tall, but if he perhaps showed he was suffering and was fragile, people might understand.
“He needs more affection than it seems. In January he can leave for free, but I want Mario to stay because if he leaves, we all lose.
“Mario, stay at Brescia and show that you came here to help us win.”
Cellino is about to make another managerial change, with Fabio Grosso’s month-long reign about to end after three defeats and no goals scored.
Eugenio Corini, the man Grosso replaced less than a month ago, is about to be reinstated on the Rondinelle bench.
Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira reports a meeting is taking place now, where the World Cup winner will be relieved of his duties.
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