Mario Balotelli was the target of racial slurs once again on Wednesday, this time during training in Florence. But the young forward–who reportedly has a hot temper–kept calm and continued with practice when a man hurled the insults at him.
Police escorted the man away, and Balotelli never lost focus. After practice was over he stopped to sign autographs for some fans who were waiting. The fact that he didn’t react or let the taunters get to him says a lot about how far he’s come, says Brooks Peck of Yahoo! Sports.
“As Italy prepare for the World Cup, this was a better sign for both the team and Balotelli’s development than any goal he could have scored or hot weather training he could have completed. A Mario Balotelli who is in control and capable of overcoming negativity will be vital within the intense pressure that Brazil will present next month,” Peck says.
Balotelli’s teammate Ciro Immobile praised him for staying calm, but says he was upset himself at the fact that Balotelli is still having to deal with racism.
“In 2014, we shouldn’t have to deal with racism. We have to improve as a nation. Fortunately, Mario was very calm. We know how serious this is but we don’t want to further discuss this within the group. We will try to make appeals in order for these episodes not to happen again. I’m not ashamed of being Italian, but I do get upset by this type of behavior,” he said at a press conference.
Image via Wikimedia Commons