Balotelli racially abused while on national duty

Mario Balotelli Italy

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been the victim of racist abuse while taking part in Italy's pre-World Cup training camp.

In a shameful incident, a group of young men outside Italy's Coverciano training camp yelled racist abuse at Mario Balotelli while he was training with the Azzurri squad.

Italy's preparations for the World Cup have begun with their first test being against England in Manaus on June 14.

The players underwent medical and fitness tests yesterday and conducted some of their session in a sauna in order to replicate the conditions they will experience in Brazil.

But Italy's preparations have been overshadowed by the news that AC Milan striker Balotelli was racially abused by a group gathered outside the fences of Coverciano.

It is reported that Balotelli was initially upset but then shrugged off the incident.

Balotelli is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as saying: 'Incredible. These things only happen in Rome and Florence."

The ex-Manchester City marksman has been praised by the Italian press for remaining calm and returning to the session.

There was a brighter moment as a group of children who had been invited to watch the session then applauded and cheered Balotelli, singling him out for their affection.

On several occasions this season Balotelli has been the victim of racist abuse and it has been suggested that this treatment is a factor that may convince him to leave Serie A.

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