Naples

Balotelli angry with media over 'drug-dealing stunt' report

Informant says Italy star sold drugs in Naples 'as a joke'

Balotelli angry with media over 'drug-dealing stunt' report

(updates previous). Naples, May 30 - An angry Mario Balotelli lashed out Thursday at the media for giving credence to a former mafia figure's claims the Italian soccer player jokingly dealt drugs. "AHAHAHAHA, they said I used prostitutes, next time maybe they'll say I take it up the...," the Italy and AC Milan star tweeted. "Don't use me to boost your audience (figures)", said the former Inter Milan and Manchester City star, whose temperamental behaviour, anger at racism and wacky off-field antics have gained headlines worldwide. "Shame on you," Balotelli added. His coach was quick to spring to Balotelli's defence, saying the topic was sensitive but that he believed in the striker. "It seems to me that Mario has answered and there is no comment," further to add, said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. Earlier, under questioning from prosecutors, Armando De Rosa said he was with Balotelli in September 2010 in the troubled Scampia neighbourhood of Naples when he said the striker joked about dealing drugs in the neighbourhood. De Rosa told prosecutors Balotelli asked his alleged Camorra hosts if he could hand out the next sale, and they let him. De Rosa, who claims he has quit the Camorra mafia, was being questioned in connection with a money-laundering ring. In September 2011, Balotelli had also been called in for questioning after the visit he made in 2010 to the Naples neighbourhood that is notorious for drug trafficking and the activity of the local Camorra mafia. According to prosecutors, the striker had been accompanied by two "senior Camorra figures". Balotelli has always insisted he didn't know who the men were when they took him around Scampia, an area he was interested in because of its resemblance to the poor Palermo quarter where he grew up. Balotelli has drawn significant media attention at times for his off-field antics. In late 2011, he hit headlines with the British media reporting he had his new Maserati temporarily confiscated by police. That same season he had to spend a night in a hotel because friends started a blaze with fireworks at his home.

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