Mario Balotelli has threatened to walk off the pitch if he is racially abused at Euro 2012 and said he would ‘kill’ anyone who dares to throw a banana at him.
Manchester City’s volatile Italian striker spoke out amid increasing concerns that black players will be targeted by racists when the tournament kicks off in Poland and Ukraine next week.
The families of England players Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott will not travel to Ukraine because of fears for their safety but Balotelli, of Ghanaian descent, 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.’
Balotelli has been the victim of racist abuse on several occasions – most recently in February when Porto were fined over the behaviour of their supporters in a Europa League tie against City.
‘Let’s see what happens at the Euros,’ added Balotelli. ‘I hope it will pass without a problem. I really couldn’t deal with that.’
Balotelli, 21, was targeted by Juventus and Roma fans while playing for Inter Milan in 2009, which resulted in Juve having to play a match behind closed doors.
In June of that year, he was racially abused and pelted with bananas in a Rome bar while out with Italy teammates in the build-up to the European Under-21 Championships.
He added: ‘It was lucky that the police arrived quickly because, I swear, I would have beaten them. I would have really destroyed them. I hope it never happens again.’Daily Mail