Mario Balotelli has been branded arrogant by his own Brescia ultras for standing up to racist abuse.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker kicked the ball into the stand against Hellas Verona in protest against monkey noises from the crowd.
Verona’s Poltrone Est stand will be closed for one game as punishment while the head of the Verona ultras has been banned for claiming Balotelli was “never completely Italian”.
But now Brescia fans have criticised the Italy striker for not ignoring the opposition fans in a crunch Serie A fixture – and defended Verona.
“If Balotelli was not ready psychologically to face the Verona fanbase, then he should’ve said so and left his place to someone less,” said a statement from Brescia ultras.
“None of us would’ve been upset if he had, quite the contrary.
“We have absolutely no doubts that Balotelli is to all intents Italian, and even a Bresciano, but the arrogance that he continually gives off is unjustifiable.”
Balotelli attempted to storm off the pitch during the class last Sunday, before the game was halted by the referee as part of the anti-racism protocol, while teammates tried to calm the striker down.
He continued to play when the game eventually resumed, and scored, before leaving the pitch at full-time visibly upset and covering his face.
After the game, Verona boss Ivan Juric claimed not to have heard any abuse.
“You can ask him [Balotelli], there was nothing there. I am disgusted by racist abuse and I will be the first to condemn it when it happens, but this was not it,” he said.
“They provoked him with jeers and sarcastic chants, but they were not racist. Anything else is a lie.”
Brescia’s ultras added in their post that Balotelli’s attitude is the main problem, citing his middle finger salute to the Inter Milan fans last month.
They also claimed a number of fans had turned their backs on the striker not because of his race, but for his ‘childlike and unsavoury attitude’.
Balotelli could next be in action for Bresica on Saturday in the home clash with Torino.