Mario Balotelli has said racism in Italy is much worse than in any other country he has played in.
Racism in Serie A was put under the spotlight after Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was subjected to monkey chants from Inter Milan fans in December.
Balotelli, who left Nice to join Marseille in January, started his career with Inter before moving to Manchester City and going on to play for AC Milan and Liverpool.
“In England, on a football level, I never saw anything like this,” Balotelli said on Italian TV show Quelli Che Il Calcio. “In France, I’ve not seen much — but no one is like Italy. In Italy, it is really extreme.”
In 2009, Juventus were made to play a match behind closed doors after their fans were found guilty of aiming racial abuse at Balotelli, who was then 18. He said it was a horrible experience but his strong mentality helped him to overcome it.
“Juve-Inter, when I was younger, was a catastrophe — emotionally, it was a disaster,” he said. “They were making these chants.
“There was no motive as I hadn’t done anything at all. Not to the players or to the fans. When I got home, I asked my mother: “Why? Why were they doing that?
“But there was no explanation. I was a kid, I don’t think they understood how much this really hurt me. Luckily, I have a strong character, but you can really destroy a person.”
Balotelli, 28, also said he would like to finish his career with Serie B side, Brescia, the club from the city that the Italy forward grew up in.
“Serie A is different to any other league I’ve played in because it’s so tactical — but so, so tactical,” he said. “Sometimes even boring.
“I haven’t really thought about it but it would be nice to go back to Italy. I’d like to finish my career at Brescia.”
Meanwhile, Balotelli said he still has hopes of appearing at a major international tournament before he retires.
“The primary objectives are these: to score goals and make the return to the national team,” he said. “Roberto Mancini is a manager who knows me better than others, though that doesn’t mean he should give me anything for free.
“I would like to play in another World Cup or Euros.”
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