Mario Balotelli was born in Italy to parents of African descent. The Liverpool flop has written many headlines off the pitch, but now insists he would have had less problems if he was white.
The controversial character has seemingly made a big effort to try and clean up his reputation since joining Ligue 1 side Nice and it looks like it has also helped him find his goalscoring form.
The 27-year-old, who hoped his recent performances would be enough for him to earn his spot in the latest Italy squad, believes the colour of his skin has a lot to do with how he gets perceived but he also did pin some of the blame on his past behaviour.
“In some stadiums, people chanted ‘There are no black Italians’ at me, yet I am the proof that there are,” he told French publication SoFoot.
“Even if I am Italian, born and raised in Italy, the law states I only became Italian once I reached the age of 18. The law is wrong and that is perhaps why to this day some people see black as the colour of diversity, of inferiority, of an error in the middle of a team photograph.
“I think that if I had been white, I’d have had fewer problems. Perhaps I did cause some of my own problems and had the wrong attitude at times, but would I have been forgiven quicker? Absolutely yes.”
The forward also took the opportunity to hit out at politician Toni Iwobi, Italy's first ever black senator, for his involvement with the country’s far-right Northern League party.
“Italy is not a racist country, but it does have some racists in it," he continued.
"The change is in the hands of the next generation and we must teach our children that everyone is the same, despite apparent differences.
“That party (the Northern League) isn’t exactly beyond reproach when it comes to racism. That man (Iwobi) was used and he didn’t realise it, because that way the Lega can say there are black Italians who see things the way they do.
“The main point is to reiterate that there are black Italians.There are Italians and that’s it. Stop. That senator can’t be passed off as an exception, otherwise, we are back to the beginning again.
"If he’d been elected for any other party, I would’ve had nothing to say.”
Balotelli has made 32 appearances for Nice this season and has scored 22 goals along the way.
Do you agree with the Italian’s opinion? Have your say in the comments section below.