Mario Balotelli: Racism persists in England
Italian and former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has revealed that there are racist football fans even in England but they hide it better than the Italian and Spanish fans. The 23 year old was the target of racist chants during Italy’s training camp last week and has been previously targetted racially while playing for AC Milan and threatened to walk off the pitch if it happened again.
Balotelli said that racism wasn’t only prevalent in Italy and Spain but also in England “Not open, no. Just after I joined, we were on a plane going on tour somewhere and I looked around and I realized there were more black players than white players on the team. That was a big difference. That was kind of amazing. In Italy, I was often the only one. Racism is everywhere. Maybe it is more open here [in Italy] or in Spain. There are racists in England but I think they hide it more."
He believes that because of racism he is criticized and abused in Italy “They aren't used to seeing people who are different, not white, who act not as rebels but normally. I think what the ignorant people don't like is that people who are different are allowed to act that way. These stupid people, they get angry with me, they say horrible things, but I haven't done anything different from other people. I have made mistakes, like everyone does, and I have always paid for my mistakes. I think that if I was white maybe some people would still find me irritating or annoying but it wouldn't be the same. Absolutely not.”
He added “Jealousy is a horrible thing, but when this jealousy is towards people who are different from the majority, and who maybe also have more than you, then it becomes anger, it becomes rage, and that's the overt racism."
Balotelli feels that the fight against racism is not important and is willing to support a sustainable campaign “People are fighting this thing, and it's important. But in the media every time I have talked about this subject people talk about it for three or four days but then everything goes back to normal. So, either there is something really strong for all of us to do, some real movement or real action, and in that case I will be the first guy to participate, but if it's just talk, I'd rather not.”
“We can talk about it as much as we want but things don't change that way. When there will be something real and strong to really help people and society, and really help people who have less than me, then I will help.” Asked if things would change if he helped Italy win the World Cup, Balotelli said “It's really sad to think that we can change Italy only by winning the World Cup. I hope we can change things even if we don't win it.”