Mario Balotelli is not to blame for the outbreak of racism in Italian football, insists AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri.
The Italy striker has dominated the headlines since leaving Manchester City in January and Allegri spoke ahead of the season-opening trip to Hellas Verona.
The racism is not about Balotelli but about a lack of culture that still exists in Italy.
Mario is very calm, just like everyone else and we only think about playing football.
He needs to just concentrate on playing - to have respect for the opponent but to still keep that mischievous side.
I just hope that the imbeciles don't ruin what should be a beautiful day for Verona and for us."