Mario Balotelli has revealed he would like to end his career in Italy, ideally with hometown club Brescia.
The Marseille striker has previously played for both Milan clubs, but struggled to make an impact in Serie A – a league he calls “too tactical and a bit boring”.
Balotelli, who has scored one goal in two games for Marseille since joining from Nice in January, was asked about his future during an interview with Italian TV show Queli che il Calcio.
The 28-year-old, who was recently recalled to the Italy squad, was born in Palermo but grew up in Brescia, and his hometown club are currently leading the Serie B – two points ahead of Palermo – as they push for promotion to Serie A. Balotelli says they are the only Italian club he has considered featuring for.
“I never really thought about going back to [Italy] in these months,” the striker said.
“But I do not deny that I would like to close my career at Brescia.”
Last year saw Roberto Mancini, who managed Balotelli at Inter Milan and Manchester City, become manager of the Italian national team, leading to a recall for the former Liverpool striker after a three-year absence. Balotelli has scored 14 goals in 36 appearances for his country, and would like to add to that tally, especially with Mancini in charge.
“Mancini is the manager that knows me best,” he admitted. “I want return to the Italy national team and score many goals.”
Though Balotelli harbours dreams of starring for and playing in his country again, he criticised Italy for the racism he had deal with there as a player, revealing that he hasn’t experienced anything of the sort in England or France.
“In Italian stadiums there is too much racism,” Balotelli said. “I have been victim of insults only in Italy. It will take time but I am sure that we will win the battle against the racists.”
Roma striker Edin Dzeko could face a lengthy ban after appearing to spit at the referee during Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia thrashing at Fiorentina.
The capital club were humbled 7-1 in their quarter-final clash in Florence, where Dzeko was shown a straight red card in the 72nd minute for dissent.
Videos and still images of the incident appear to show the 32-year-old Bosnian, who was a second-half substitute, spitting at official Gianluca Manganiello.
The referee will confirm his reasons for expelling former Manchester City forward Dzeko in his match report and, as Roma’s cup campaign is now over, the resulting suspension will carry over to Serie A according to Italian football Federation rules. Roma host AC Milan in the league on Sunday evening.
Giallorossi boss Eusebio Di Francesco described the rout in Tuscany as a “shameful performance”, personally apologising to supporters for the result in a statement on the club’s official website.
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
Napoli’s hopes of catching Serie A leaders Juventus suffered a dent after drawing a blank at top-four rivals AC Milan.
Returning to the San Siro exactly one month after defender Kalidou Koulibaly was the subject of alleged racist chanting in a 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan, Napoli this time settled for a goalless draw.
Jose Callejon clipping the crossbar was the closest Napoli came to a breakthrough, although both goalkeepers were pressed into action on multiple occasions in a see-saw encounter.
Napoli closed the gap on Juventus to eight points, but the Turin giants could further their lead into double digits when they travel to Lazio on Sunday.
To compound the Partenopei’s disappointment, Fabian Ruiz was given his marching orders deep into time added-on after receiving a second yellow card.
Fabio Quagliarella’s penalty double helped Sampdoria thrash Udinese 4-0.
Quagliarella struck from the spot in either half before Karol Linetty and substitute Manolo Gabbiadini added gloss to the scoreline as Samp moved up to sixth in the standings.
Sassuolo are up to ninth as goals from Manuel Locatelli and substitute Alessandro Matri either side of Khouma El Babacar’s spot-kick sealed a convincing 3-0 victory over Cagliari.