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Italian newspaper shows Balotelli atop Big Ben as 'King Kong'

June 26, 2012 - Washington

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello published a photo-illustration that showed Italy striker Mario Balotelli as 'King Kong' atop London's Big Ben, swatting away soccer balls.

Although the intent of the cartoon seemed to be that Balotelli and the Italians would topple England, the execution was seen to be in poor taste. Italy won the match in a shootout, 4-2.

Before the tournament kicked off, Balotelli, who was born in Palermo but is of Ghanainan descent, addressed his concerns about racism in Poland and Ukraine, the co-hosts for the European Championships, and said that racism is unacceptable to him.

"Let's see what happens at the Euro. I hope that there will not be a problem," he told France Footall. "Because I really can't handle that," the New York Daily News quoted Balotelli, as saying.

"I cannot bear racism, it's unacceptable for me. If it had happened again I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012. It can't happen," the 21-year-old added.

Players competing in Euro 2012 were concerned that racism could be a problem with fans in Poland and Ukraine, but probably didn't expect to be the subject of racial insensitivity in the press.


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