Mario Balotelli lost his temper and delivered an astonishing outburst aimed at the Italian TV pundit Zvonimir Boban after AC Milan’s 2-0 defeat by Roma.
The striker, who has been repeatedly criticised by Boban on Sky Italia this season, could not contain his frustration when given the right to reply during a post-match interview.
“You always talk about me,” said Balotelli. “When Milan win Mario’s great, but when Milan lose it’s all Mario’s fault. I don’t need your criticism, I criticise myself.”
Boban, a former Milan and Croatia forward, had claimed the 23-year-old was not a “top player” and his display was poor during the TV broadcast.
“I never said I’m a top player, I am a perfectly normal player, it’s you that say I am an exceptional player, you always expect me to score five goals a game,” added Balotelli. “You always talk and talk, but there is no point to saying any of these things. There is no point at all.”
Boban’s fellow TV pundit Giancarlo Marocchi, the former Juventus midfielder, also angered Balotelli by asking why he had not moved around the pitch more during Friday’s game.
“You don’t understand anything about football – trust me, you really don’t,” said Balotelli, who threw his microphone down at the end of the interview.
Clarence Seedorf. Milan’s head coach, had earlier substituted Balotelli for Giampaolo Pazzini in the 69th minute after he had contributed little during the defeat.
While Balotelli (right) has endured a mixed season as Milan have struggled in Serie A, he has scored 14 League goals and is still likely to be selected for Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup squad.
The former Manchester City forward, who famously taunted his English critics by donning a ‘Why always me’ T-shirt in 2011, remains favourite to lead the line for Italy against England in their first game in Manaus on 14 June.
Roma’s win cut Juventus’s lead at the top of Serie A to five points with three weeks left. Antonio Conte’s side are strong favourites to win the title for the third successive season but must still face second-placed Roma.
“We’ll do what we can to end the season on a high,” said Miralem Pjanic, Roma’s outstanding midfielder. “This has been a wonderful season. It’s a shame we’re not top after everything we’ve achieved. We’ll do everything to catch Juventus in the remaining three games. There is such a great atmosphere around the team and we want this to continue.”