Italian born Ghanaian striker Mario Balotelli says he would have enjoyed an easier career in his homeland had he been white but insists Italy ‘is not a racist country.’
The Italy international has not represented the Azzurri since the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and has been ignored for a possible recall despite enjoying an impressive season with 22 goals in 32 appearances for the Ligue 1 side.
However, the 27-year-old was overlooked by caretaker coach Gigi Di Biagio – which Balotelli feels was unfair.
“In some stadiums, people chanted ‘There are no black Italians’ at me, yet I am the proof that there are,” he told French publication SoFoot.
“Even if I am Italian, born and raised in Italy, the law states I only became Italian once I reached the age of 18. The law is wrong and that is perhaps why to this day some people see black as the colour of diversity, of inferiority of an error in the middle of a team photograph.
“I think that if I had been white, I’d have had fewer problems. Perhaps I did cause some of my own problems and had the wrong attitude at times, but would I have been forgiven quicker? Absolutely yes,” the former AC Milan striker added.
“Italy is not a racist country, but it does have some racists in it. The change is in the hands of the next generation and we must teach our children that everyone is the same, despite apparent differences.”