Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has described the alleged racist abuse of Moise Kean as “unacceptable” but believes the comments of his team-mate Leonardo Bonucci have been “misunderstood”.
Kean’s fine display in his side’s 2-0 Serie A win against Cagliari on Tuesday was overshadowed by allegations of racist chanting against the 19-year-old, who scored Juve’s second goal.
The Italy international celebrated his late strike in front of Cagliari’s supporters amid ongoing abuse, and Bonucci said after the match that Kean should take some of the blame for the taunts because he incited the home crowd.
Bonucci’s international team-mate Mario Balotelli reacted strongly to his comments, writing on Kean’s Instagram post: “Bravo! And tell Bonucci that he’s lucky I wasn’t there. Instead of defending you he does that? Wow, I am honestly shocked.”
The Italy defender later clarified his remarks via social media, saying that he was “too hasty” in expressing his thoughts and “firmly condemned racism”.
Mancini thinks Bonucci’s initial response has been misinterpreted and is concerned the fallout from it is overshadowing the alleged behaviour of Cagliari’s supporters.
— Moise Kean (@MoiseKean) April 3, 2019
“The attitude used against Kean was unacceptable,” he told reporters.
“Racist behaviour must be stigmatised so that it can be no more. Positions must be taken. We must also be tough so that these things stop happening.
“Kean’s still a boy. Maybe next time he won’t celebrate like he did, but he probably felt in distress.
“I think Bonucci was misunderstood. Now it seems that the important thing was the controversy between Balotelli and Bonucci, instead of what happened on the field.
“We must ensure that these things don’t happen again. As for the national team, we’ll see whether we call all three up.”
Italy’s next fixture is a Euro 2020 qualifier against Greece on June 8, which is followed three days later with another Group J clash against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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