Inter round on Balotelli

Mourinho and Inter team-mates blast striker

Last updated: 21st April 2010   Subscribe to RSS Feed

If I were him, I'd have left Mario alone, but Materazzi was attacking him and I was stunned. If Materazzi had attacked me like that, I would've decked him in a second!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims Marco Materazzi attacked Inter Milan team-mate Mario Balotelli at the end of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Balotelli threw his shirt away at the final whistle after being jeered by Inter fans for his performance after coming off the bench.

The 19-year-old has found himself in trouble on a number of occasions this season after a series of run-ins with coach Jose Mourinho.

Balotelli, who replaced Diego Milito for the last 20 minutes of the 3-1 win over Barcelona, argued with Mourinho, team-mates and fans before he threw off his shirt in anger at the end.

His antics failed to impress Mourinho and a number of his team-mates with Ibrahimovic suggesting Materazzi fought with the striker in the players' tunnel at the final whistle.

"I saw that Materazzi was attacking him in the players' tunnel and I've never seen anything like it," Ibrahimovic told RAI.

"If I were him, I'd have left Mario alone, but Materazzi was attacking him and I was stunned. If Materazzi had attacked me like that, I would've decked him in a second!

"Materazzi was causing all sorts of trouble and in the Barcelona locker room we were amazed, all talking about it. A player should be proud after a win, not chase down a 19-year-old to berate him."

Punished

Inter general manager Ernesto Paolillo has vowed to punish Balotelli for his disrespectful gesture in throwing away his shirt.

"Balotelli's gesture was terrible. Just terrible," said Paolillo. "It is something we are going to have to discuss.

"Will he be punished? Absolutely, yes."

Mourinho also blasted Balotelli for his petulant behaviour that marred Inter's famous victory.

"I'm disappointed with the way the fans treated Balotelli, I always want them to support him right to the end, but I understand their reaction because they saw the same things I did," he said.

"They saw a team dead on its feet, Milito left the field with cramp, (Goran) Pandev left the field with cramp.

"I put (Cristian) Chivu on and he gave his all, I put (Dejan) Stankovic on and he gave his all.

Attitude

"Then Mario with this attitude, and all of you (the press), or almost all of you, say it's normal but then there's this idiot coach who says it isn't normal.

"It's the second most important match in football (after the final) and everyone goes off dead, but one player could have done more to help his team which was struggling, had lost Maicon and was under intense pressure from Barcelona.

"We all wanted more from him, then they whistled him and he did this with the shirt.

"We'll play on Saturday and he'll play, no problem with that because we need to rest others.

"He needs to show that he wants to be with us and has understood how to play football and that he should leave the pitch dead. Of course he's not going home dead because he didn't run much."

Inter duo Dejan Stankovic and captain Javier Zanetti criticised Balotelli's attitude.

"What do I think of Balotelli, how much time have you got? You need to see what is in his head, he's like a child," said Stankovic.

Zanetti said: "Mario needs to concentrate on doing what he can do on the pitch, he can't allow himself to behave in this way."