Premier League - Balotelli shown round Naples by mafia mobsters

Mon, 06 Jun 12:35:00 2011

Mario Balotelli is once again at the centre of a controversy after it emerged that he was given a tour of Naples by two mafia chiefs.

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A secret memo leaked by the Italian police revealed the Manchester City star was shown around the city's notorious Scampia estate by mob bosses named as Salvatore Silvestri and Biagio Esposito.

It is yet another extraordinary chapter for the incident-prone 20-year-old, who has hit the headlines repeatedly this season for everything from being memorably unable to put on a training bib, taking on a young fan's school bullies, snubbing Manchester City's awards ceremony and enraging Roberto Mancini so much that the City boss reportedly threw luggage at him.

Balotelli claims that he was completely unaware of the shady dealings of his hosts as he was escorted around the drug and crime-riddled district, which took place last summer when the Italy forward was in Naples to give out an award (although he failed to actually make it to the ceremony).

"I had absolutely no idea who those people were," said Balotelli. "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 news of Balotelli's shady tour guides came out as part of the police investigation into the match-fixing scandal which is currently shaking Italian football - though there is no suggestion that the player took part in match fixing, but was merely satisfying his curiosity about one of the most notoriously crime-ridden places in Europe.

The police memo reported that, "the information came from a trusted source who later revealed that Balotelli, after being shown around the area, went to a residence where pictures were taken of him with Silvestri and Esposito." Those pictures have not been released.


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