Lunedì, 15 Ottobre 2018
BOLOGNA

Soccer: Prandelli backs Balotelli after drugs claim

English
© ANSA

Bologna, May 31 - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
stuck up for Mario Balotelli on Friday after a former mobster
claimed the AC Milan striker jokingly dealt drugs during a visit
to Naples.
It was the latest in a series of storms whipped up in the
media about the talented, temperamental 22-year-old's off-field
antics and Prandelli said his star player was being unfairly
targeted.
"It strange that every time there is a big tournament for
Italy there's always something that disturbs us," Prandelli told
state broadcaster Rai ahead of Friday's friendly against San
Marino in Bologna, which comes before an important World Cup
qualifier in the Czech Republic on Tuesday and next month's
Confederations Cup in Brazil.
"Obviously that's because the team creates an opportunity
to address certain issues, to put them on the stage. But it's
not right.
"I think Balotelli has had enough. This hounding of him in
every situation is intolerable. He's so popular now that he has
to carefully assess every situation, choose who he spends time
with very carefully.
"I can't see him dealing drugs, not even for a joke.
Absolutely not".
Under questioning from prosecutors, Armando De Rosa, a
former member of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, said he was
with Balotelli in September 2010 in the troubled Scampia
neighbourhood of Naples when he said the striker joked about
dealing drugs in the neighbourhood.
De Rosa told prosecutors Balotelli asked his alleged
Camorra hosts if he could hand out the next sale, and they let
him.
De Rosa, who claims he has quit the Camorra, was being
questioned in connection with a money-laundering ring.
In September 2011 Balotelli was called in for questioning
after the visit he made in 2010 to the Naples neighbourhood that
is notorious for drug trafficking and other Camorra activities.
According to prosecutors, the striker was accompanied by
two "senior Camorra figures".
Balotelli has always insisted he didn't know who the men
were when they took him around Scampia, an area he was
interested in because of its resemblance to the poor Palermo
quarter where he grew up.
On Thursday the player Balotelli lashed out at the media
for giving credence to the claim.
"AHAHAHAHA, now I deal drugs, they said I used prostitutes,
next time maybe they'll say I take it up the...," he tweeted.
"Don't use me to boost your audience (figures)".

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