Florence: Italy's football chief Giancarlo Abete has condemned the racist chants directed at Mario Balotelli during the Azzurri's training session yesterday.

Mario Balotelli. Pic/Getty Images
Mario Balotelli. Pic/Getty Images 

The AC Milan forward was on the receiving end of racist abuse from a group of young men outside Italy's training headquarters in Coverciano, Florence.

Local police had to intervene to allow Balotelli and the rest of the players to continue to train.

"This is unacceptable behaviour," Abete said to Gazzetta dello Sport. "This should not happen.

"We will take this episode into account. "The important thing is that this is only a minority and they have no regard for civil coexistence."

It is not the first time Balotelli has been the victim of racism. In 2013, he was racially abused by a section of Roma fans during a Serie A game against them.

'We have to improve'
Italy teammate Ciro Immobile also expressed his sadness at the incident and praised the way Balotelli handled himself.

"In 2014 we shouldn't have to deal with racism," he said in yesterday's press conference. "We have to improve as a nation.

"Fortunately, Mario was very calm. "We know how serious this is but we don't want to further discuss this within the group.

"We will try to make appeals in order for these episodes not to happen again.

"I'm not ashamed of being Italian, but I do get upset by this type of behaviour."