Chiellini on the attack: Balotelli deserved a slap, Melo 'a rotten apple'
- Giorgio Chiellini has ripped into former Azzurri colleague Mario Balotelli, saying he let down his country at the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini has launched a blistering takedown of former Italy team-mate Mario Balotelli, accusing him of being "a negative person".
The pair were Azzurri team-mates for several years, when Balotelli was a maverick young striker who looked set to achieve great things.
In a new autobiography, Chiellini snaps at his former colleague, writing: "Balotelli is a negative person, without respect for the squad.
"At the Confederations Cup, in 2013, he didn't give us a hand in anything, stuff that deserves a slap."
During the tournament in question, Balotelli scored twice, including a penalty, in the group stage, before a thigh injury ruled him out of the semi-final against Spain, who beat Italy on penalties.
Balotelli was a Milan player at the time and has since had spells with Liverpool, Nice and Marseille, with Brescia the latest stop-off in a varied career.
Chiellini, 35, was more brutal when it came to assessing former Juve colleague Felipe Melo, the Brazilian midfielder who played for the Bianconeri from 2009 to 2011.
"Even worse was Felipe Melo: the worst of the worst. There was always a fight with him. I also told the managers: he's a rotten apple," Chiellini wrote.
He backed up his comments in an interview with Saturday's La Repubblica newspaper, saying: "I confirm it, but I have no grudge and nor am I interested in having one. If I have to share something with them, I will.
"I'm not everyone's best friend, but they are the only two who have gone beyond an acceptable limit.
"For me, the problem is not if you play well, badly or if you sometimes have an evening out, but if you lack respect and have nothing inside. Once, it's fine, if it's recurring, it's not."