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World Cup 2014: Police intervene as Mario Balotelli is racially abused by spectators at Italy training centre

Incident happened in Florence as squad prepare for next month's tournament

Police have had to intervene after Mario Balotelli was racially abused at the Italy Coverciano training centre in Florence today as the team prepare for next month's World Cup finals.

The former Manchester City striker, who now plays for Milan in the Serie A, had to endure hearing some kids shout "black piece of s***" towards him as coach Cesare Prandelli put his side through their paces.

The 23-year-old did not react to the abuse, and reportedly told his team-mates afterwards: "Unbelievable. Only in Rome and Florence do these things happen"

The forward, who was born in Sicily to Ghana immigrants, has been a target of racism throughout his career in Italy and last month offered his public support to Dani Alves's "We are all monkeys" campaign after the Barcelona defender decided to eat a banana thrown from the stands at him by an opposition fan.

Giancarlo Abete, Italy's football chief, added: "This is unacceptable behaviour. This should not happen. We will take this episode into account."

Italy begin their quest for a fifth World Cup triumph against Roy Hodgson's England on 14 June, before playing Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.