Sports

Balotelli hits back at criticism and discrimination after Italy's early exit from World Cup

Italy forward Mario Balotelli walks away after the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Uruguay won 1-0. Uruguay won 1-0. The four-time champion Italy is heading home after the group phase for a second time in four years. Head coach Cesare Prandelli and football federation president Giancarlo Abete both resigned moments after the match. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Italy forward Mario Balotelli walks away after the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Uruguay won 1-0. Uruguay won 1-0. The four-time champion Italy is heading home after the group phase for a second time in four years. Head coach Cesare Prandelli and football federation president Giancarlo Abete both resigned moments after the match. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)  (The Associated Press)

Mario Balotelli is hitting back at criticism of him — some of it discriminatory — for Italy's group-stage exit from the World Cup.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago says that "Balotelli was certainly disappointing."

And next to a video with someone saying, "Mario, you're really not Italian. Go away," Balotelli posted a long reply on Instagram.

Balotelli says he "gave everything for the national team ... so look for another excuse."

Writing in Italian, the forward adds that he is "honored to have given his all for his country. Or maybe, like you say, I'm not Italian. Africans would never cast aside one of their 'brothers.' NEVER."

Balotelli was born in Sicily to Ghanaian immigrants and brought up by an Italian foster family.