Mario Balotelli fighting Italy's racists

“We need Mario Balotelli. I’m not sure he really appreciates it yet, but he’s a special kind of medicine, an antidote to the potentially lethal poison of the racist you find in Italian grounds.”

So said Andrea Pirlo in his autobiography, “I Think Therefore I Play.” Balotelli is not simply one of the brightest prospects in football -- a technically gifted and special player -- but a man who has and will continue to push Italy into the future, forcing it to shed its intolerable past. For that, as well as his goals, Italy are grateful.

“Whenever I see Mario at an Italy training camp, I’ll give him a big smile. It’s my way of letting him know that I’m right behind him and that he must not give up,” wrote Pirlo.

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