Mario Balotelli’s representative Mino Raiola feels the AC Milan striker would not be judged as harshly if he was white, claiming that racism remains a major problem in Italian football.
The Italy international, who has not featured for Milan since September 27 due to a groin injury, has received criticism throughout his career and Raiola feels the on-loan Liverpool forward’s treatment in his homeland is due to the colour of his skin.
“People judge Mario too much. He lives in a country that is not ready to have such a strong black player,” Raiola told Tuttosport.
“Italy is light-years behind other countries in that aspect.
“There is racism in football. Some of it is unconscious, but black players have to do twice as much as others to prove themselves.”
Despite Balotelli’s continuing struggles, Raiola is adamant his client deserves to go to Euro 2016.
“[Italy coach Antonio] Conte should call up Mario because he is the best Italian striker,” he added.
“Enzo Bearzot called up Paolo Rossi in 1982 despite his inactivity and we went on to win the World Cup.
“I am convinced that Mario will win over Conte with his performances and his goals at Milan.”