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Balotelli victim of abuse in derby

25 February 2013-PA Sport

mario balotelli ac milan

Why me? ... Mario Balottelli was abused during the Milan derby (Getty)

Mario Balotelli's return to the Milan derby was marred by reports of racial abuse from supporters of his former club Inter Milan

Balotelli started his career with Inter before a turbulent spell in England with Manchester City and returned to the city in January when AC Milan signed him.

That was always likely to make him a target of abuse for the Inter fans, but reports in the Italian media suggest a section of supporters may have targeted him for his skin colour during the 1-1 draw.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported that inflatable bananas were being waved by Inter supporters during the match.

Balotelli was also seen to raise his finger to his lips in an apparent bid to silence his detractors.

The 22-year-old striker was unable to muster an even better response in the form of a goal, his nearest attempt hitting the post.

Earlier this month Balotelli was the target of racist chanting from a section of Inter fans during the Nerazzurri's game with Chievo, for which Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti apologised afterwards while expressing his hope there would be no repeat in the derby.

That was the second time Balotelli has been the victim of racism on his return to Italy.

The first saw Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi - the younger brother of club owner Silvio - filmed at a political meeting in Monza near Milan describing Balotelli as "negretto della famiglia'' - translated as ''the family's little negro".

That led to accusations of hypocrisy at the Rossoneri just four weeks after Silvio Berlusconi praised midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off the pitch after he was racially abused during a friendly against Pro Patria.

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