Sunday June 29 2014
Raiola: 'Balotelli is Italy scapegoat'

Agent Mino Raiola insists Mario Balotelli is used as a scapegoat “to hide the real problems in Italian football.”

The representative spoke to Rai Sport on the troubled Milan forward, who has been under attack following Italy’s early World Cup exit.

“Winning the 2006 World Cup disguised the real problems in Italian football and today they are doing the same thing with Balotelli. You talk about him and therefore hide the real problems,” slammed Raiola.

“It irritated me to see all the blame dumped on to a 23-year-old. It annoyed me and I don’t think this would’ve happened anywhere else in the world.

“I made a mistake in bringing Mario back to Italy.”

Raiola also denied reports of a split in the Azzurri camp between ‘senators’ and younger players, particularly Gigi Buffon and Daniele De Rossi.

“I saw a squad that was sluggish in terms of fitness levels, then we discovered the team just wasn’t there. Did you see the Dutch side today, how they fought to the end and turned it around against Mexico? Italy were not united or sharp.

“During the World Cup I spoke to Mario and Ignazio Abate, but they didn’t say anything about problems or unhappiness between the ranks. The defeat hurt the group, but I don’t believe it was split during the competition.

“Buffon and De Rossi? Their comments were not talking about Balotelli. His teammates didn’t put the blame on Mario, but the rest of the country did.”

Cesare Prandelli resigned straight after the World Cup elimination and there is confusion over who will take over.

“I’d like a Coach who had clear ideas and stuck to them. In the world we became famous for catenaccio, but lost any sense of identity.

“The FIGC needs to change, get rid of those who didn’t dare defend Mario or the other players, who were incapable since 2006 of starting a real project.

“They would only need to copy the approach of others, like Spain or Holland, but nothing happens.”

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