Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli given Naples tour by known mobsters
Mario Balotelli claims he is “astonished and disappointed” after discovering he was named in a police report for associating with prominent members of organised crime clans.
The Manchester City striker is cited in the June 2010 report after wandering the steets of Naples’ notorious Scampia district with Salvatore Silvestri, of the Lo Russo clan, and Biagio Esposito, of the Scissionisti clan. Both clans are well-known Camorra mafia-style organisations.
News that Balotelli’s movements had been the subject of a police report broke over the weekend, and the Italy international has now spoken out to deny he knew he was in the company of gangsters.
He said: “I had absolutely no idea who those people were. That day in Naples there were many people around me. I am astonished and disappointed, especially for the effect this news story could have on my family.”
The young star’s agent went even further in a bid to distance his client from any implications of the police report.
“I cannot confirm these allegations, nor do I deny them as I do not know what really happened, or if these facts have been verified. What is certain is that Balotelli has never had any connection with organized crime. If, and I repeat, if, Mario did actually go to Scampia as he was curious to see those unfortunate places, it was simply to satisfy his curiosity.
“He most certainly was not aware of the fact that the people who had taken him there were linked to the clans, as the [Italian law enforcement agency] Carabinieri have stated. There are many people hovering around the world of football and it’s impossible to be sure who you are dealing with all of the time.
“However. this reference to Balotelli is not connected to betting.”
Balotelli was reportedly visiting the drug-riddled Scampia neighbourhood because he wanted to see places where the award-winning Italian film Gomorra had been shot.