City manager Mancini believes Balotelli could face Juve abuse
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects Mario Balotelli to be subjected to racist abuse on his return to Italy, but still plans to pick the striker for Manchester City’s Europa League tie against Juventus.
Balotelli has been a regular victim of racist abuse and was again targeted by Italian fans when playing for the national team against Romania earlier this month.
City travel to Italy in a fortnight’s time to tackle Juventus in their final group game in the Europa League and Mancini is prepared for further abuse.
However, the City manager’s desire to secure top spot in the group means he plans to call on Balotelli for the game against Juve.
When asked if the abuse could be as bad in Turin as it was during Italy’s recent friendly, Mancini said: “Probably. It could be. I hope this doesn’t happen, but it is possible.
“But no [I will not leave him out]. We must think only of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Europa League and that means we must beat Salzburg and must win in Turin.”
Regarding the abuse Balotelli received while representing Italy, Mancini added: “The world is full of stupid people – here, Romania and in Italy there are a lot of stupid people.
“I think [the environment] is better in England. I know him very well and he is a good guy. He’s only 20, he’s young, sometimes his behaviour is not perfect, but he is a good guy.”