The racist chants finally get to Balotelli.
He gives a rare interview to CNN, and his comments lead every sports page in Italy. The next time a soccer stadium echoes with monkey calls, he will take off his jersey and leave the field. All those years ago, at the pitch across from his house, he felt like he belonged. Now every monkey chant is pushing him away.
Boateng walked off in an exhibition game. This is different. Milan needs a win to secure a place in the Champions League, and its star player has drawn a line in the sand. The game is in two days, and Italy focuses on a single question: Will he or won’t he?
Fantastic piece about racism in Italian soccer.
In the late ’90s, the Lazio fans unfolded a 160-foot banner aimed at Roma fans: “Auschwitz is your town, the ovens are your houses.” They’ve held banners that managed to insult both the team’s players and fans: “Squad of blacks, terrace of Jews.”
The politics of the terraces often lack logic, praising ethnic cleansers and paramilitary murderers, the Palestinians, the Irish and the Iraqis — anyone they see as oppressed by a larger power. The specifics of the battles don’t matter as much as the ethos. Both the right and the left in Italy, for instance, revere Irish patriot Bobby Sands.