Sunday 18 March 2018

Balotelli will 'go home' if racially abused

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

MARIO BALOTELLI has added to the growing fears about racist abuse during Euro 2012 by claiming he will "leave the pitch and go home" if he is -subjected to racism while playing for Italy.

Balotelli, who once had bananas thrown at him in a Rome bar, also promised that if anyone repeated such an offensive gesture "I will go to prison because I will kill him".

An earthquake near Italy's Parma base and the subsequent cancellation of their friendly against Luxemburg meant that it was far from business as usual in the Azzurri camp yesterday, but coach Cesare Prandelli did manage to cull his squad to 23.

Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia and Siena striker Mattia Destro were the two to lose out.

Ranocchia (24) had come from a difficult season at club level during which he suffered a series of injuries, while the 21-year-old Destro had been a surprise inclusion on the provisional list after scoring 12 goals in Serie A in a campaign that looks like earning him a move to a bigger club, with Juventus favourites to sign him.

Meanwhile, Croatia manager Slaven Bilic has left Goran Blazevic, Sime Vrsaljko, Nikola Kalinic and Dejan Lovren out of his squad.

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been called into the Denmark squad after Stoke's Thomas Sorensen was ruled out with a back injury, while France coach Laurent Blanc has omitted Lyon's Yoann Gourcuff.

Prandelli's decision to leave out Destro could harm Ireland's U-21 ambitions. The Siena man has been the star of the Italians' unbeaten qualifying run in Group E and is now expected to feature when the sides meet at the Showgrounds on Monday.

Noel King will welcome Samir Carruthers and Sean Murray into his squad after their involvement with the U-19s in Portugal.

Irish Independent

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