Infographic (Trevon Marsh) Mario Balotelli Image (Calico Streaming via Flickr) Statistics (via YouGov)
By Trevon Marsh
Liverpool star striker Mario Balotelli is the latest victim of online racial abuse after sending a tweet regarding the Manchester United game.
On Sunday afternoon, Balotelli tweeted “Man utd … LOL” shortly after Leicester scored their fifth goal in a 5-3 victory over Manchester United.
In response, fans attacked Balotelli saying they hope he catches ebola, called him a monkey and other profane words.
This is not the first time the Italian has found himself subjected to racial abuse. Last year, Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch in Italy if fans continued to disrespect him during games.
“People are fighting this thing, and it’s important,” said Balotelli in an interview with GQ magazine in May.
“In the media every time I have talked about this subject, people talk about it for three or four days but then everything goes back to normal,” he said.
“So, either there is something really strong for all of us to do, some real movement or real action, and in that case I will be the first guy to participate, but if it’s just talk, I’d rather not.”
Balotelli and other African players playing in Europe have stressed their frustrations with this ongoing abuse. Like Balotelli, others have threatened to stop playing for their respective teams if this matter is no taken seriously.
Mario Balotelli Interview (via CNN YouTube)
Since the racial outburst, numerous twitter accounts that sent the abuse have since closed down. A police investigation is being launched to figure out who sent the tweets and where they originated.
Although Balotelli is being targeted, his fans continue to support him and cheer him on as he builds his legacy as one of the greats.