AC Milan owner and president Silvio Berlusconi is not one to shy away from making bizarre comments, and his latest about the Rossoneri’s controversial forward Mario Balotelli have been widely condemned due to their racial undertones.
The former Italian Prime Minister alluded to the 26-year-old striker’s skin tone when he spoke recently about the Liverpool loanee’s performances for AC Milan. The 79-year-old believes that although Mario Balotelli is immensely talented, he seems to have lost his way.
“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,” Berlusconi said, according to fourfourtwo.com.
After making the racist gaffe, Berlusconi went on to speak about the forward’s talents and his failings at the club.
“Mario has exceptional athletic attributes. I see him in training almost breaking the net with his shots, he has brilliant ball control,” he said.
“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.'”
The admonition from AC Milan president Berlusconi comes soon after manager Sinisa Mihajlovic hinted that Balotelli may have already lost the opportunity to impress at the club. The former Manchester City wonderkid is now facing a brick wall in terms of his professional development. While possessing all the qualities of a world class striker, his lackadaisical attitude and inability to work hard could see him fall by the wayside.
Berlusconi, Balotelli and racism
It looks like Silvio Berlusconi hasn’t learnt from his earlier mistakes. His earlier racially offensive comments were directed at none other than the president of the United States Barrack Obama. The then Primer Minister of Italy had referred to Obama as ‘sun-tanned’ in 2008, and brought his wife into the mix the next year, saying that they went to the beach together to sunbathe and get tanned.
Although this is the first time that Silvio Berlusconi has made such a comment about Mario Balotelli, the Italian striker has had to listen to cringe-worthy comments from another Berlusconi before. In 2013, Silvio’s brother and AC Milan vice president Paolo had called Balotelli ‘negretto di famiglia’, which means the ‘family’s little n****’.