Mario Balotelli was racially abused at Italy training on Tuesday, continuing an ugly trend that's stretched throughout the striker's career thus far. Fans reportedly shouted "black piece of shit" at him while he was training with the Italian national squad.
"This only happens in Rome and Florence," Balotelli, who grew up just outside Brescia and plays for AC Milan, said in response to being abused. The Italy squad was training at Coverciano, which is in Florence.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, however, says he did not personally hear any racial abuse being directed at Balotelli or anyone else. "I only heard nice chants," Prandelli said. "If there is then one which makes more headlines there's nothing I can do about that."
The Azzurri's preparations for the World Cup do not include any friendly matches in Italy.
They play Ireland in London on May 31 before making their way across the Atlantic Ocean ahead of their opening World Cup matches.