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Mario faces racial abuse

Rome: Racist chants against Mario Balotelli made little impact in Italian media on Monday, which focused more on the AC Milan striker’s failure to score in his first city derby against his former club Inter.

Balotelli was bought by AC Milan from Manchester City in January, a move that some commentators said was aimed more at boosting support for club owner Silvio Berlusconi as he bids for an electoral comeback, than for his sporting prowess. The 22-year-old raised a finger to his lips when fans of Inter — where he had made his name before moving to England — made monkey calls and some waved inflatable bananas in the match at Milan’s San Siro stadium on Sunday.

Critics accuse Italian soccer authorities of repeatedly failing to take tough enough action to stop blatant racism in stadiums and Balotelli, the country’s most prominent black player, has been the biggest target. Reports said part of his motivation for moving to City was a desire to escape the racism.