Outspoken AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has sparked controversy once again after referring to Mario Balotelli as an Italian who has had a “bit too much sun”.
The former Italy prime minister was celebrating his 30th anniversary as the head of Milan on Saturday.
When asked about the club’s chances of success this season, Berlusconi responded: “We have a rich bed of talent, such as [Jeremy] Menez and Mario Balotelli, who is Italian even if he has had a bit too much sun.”
The 79-year-old then went on to praise Balotelli’s talents following his gaffe.
“Mario has exceptional athletic attributes. I see him in training almost breaking the net with his shots, he has brilliant ball control,” he told Sky Italia.
“On the field I see him out of position, and I say to him, ‘Mario, do you want to win? We need to score to win and to score you need to be in front of goal.'”
It is not the first time Berlusconi has been accused of racially insensitive comments, after calling United States President Barack Obama a “beautiful, talented, tanned young man” back in 2008.
Berlusconi was also quizzed about the future of coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and what the Serbian must do to keep his job.
“What does Mihajlovic have to do to convince me? He has to win every single game,” he claimed.
Milan are sixth in the Serie A standings, 15 points behind league-leaders Juventus and six outside of the top three.