Balotelli reportedly racially abused

It has been claimed that Mario Balotelli was racially abused during the Milan derby

It has been claimed that Mario Balotelli was racially abused during the Milan derby

First published in National Sport © by

Mario Balotelli's return to the Milan derby was marred on Sunday night by reports of racial abuse from supporters of his former club Inter.

Balotelli started his career with Inter before a turbulent spell in England with Manchester City and returned to the city in January when AC Milan signed him.

That was always likely to make him a target of abuse for the Inter fans, but reports in the Italian media suggest a section of supporters may have have targeted him for his skin colour during Sunday night's game.

Newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport were among those to report that inflatable bananas were being waved by Inter supporters during the 1-1 draw.

Balotelli was also seen to raise his finger to his lips in an apparent bid to silence his detractors.

The 22-year-old striker was unable to muster an even better response in the form of a goal, his nearest attempt hitting the post.

Earlier this month Balotelli was the target of racist chanting from a section of Inter fans during the Nerazzurri's game with Chievo, for which Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti apologised afterwards while expressing his hope there would be no repeat in the derby.

That was the second time Balotelli has been the victim of racism on his return to Italy.

The first saw AC Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi - the younger brother of club owner Silvio - filmed at a political meeting in Monza near Milan describing Balotelli as "negretto della famiglia'' - translated as ''the family's little n****''.

That led to accusations of hypocrisy at the Rossoneri just four weeks after Silvio Berlusconi praised midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off the pitch after he was racially abused during a friendly against Pro Patria.

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