Mario Balotelli has issued his own warning ahead of fears that black players will be targeted by racial abuse during Euro 2012: ‘Throw a banana at me and I will kill you’.
The 21-year-old Manchester City striker has also threatened to walk off the pitch if he is subjected to racist abuse during the tournament which kicks off next week.
In an interview with France Football Balotelli said, ‘I will not accept racism at all. It’s unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street I will go to jail because I will kill them’
‘Let’s see what happens at Euro 2012′, said the Italian. ‘I hope that there will not be a problem because I really can’t handle that. I cannot bear racism, it’s unacceptable for me. If it happened again I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012. It can’t happen.’
The maverick forward played less than 20 minutes of qualifying but has been handed the number nine shirt ahead of the tournament and is 25/1 to win the golden boot.
‘Super Mario’ has scored just the one goal at international level, a screamer in a friendly against Poland, but has been dropped for the national team before after indiscipline at City.
Balotelli will have an important role to play for Italy who are a 14/1 shot for the tournament, and host reigning champions Spain in their opening game.
His temperament and erratic behaivour will be under the spotlight just as much as his talent.