Balotelli: 'It’s not as if I killed someone'

Following his dismissal against Napoli for arguing with the officials, the Milan striker conceded his actions were inappropriate but still tried to play down the incident.

Mario Balotelli has given a measured apology for his antics during Milan’s 2-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday.

After scoring a late consolation goal at San Siro, the forward was sent off following a second yellow card after the final whistle for arguing furiously with the officials, and will now serve a three-match ban for misconduct.

Milan opted against filing an appeal on the striker’s behalf, and with criticism of his behavior coming from all corners, Balotelli has reluctantly decided to admit his mistakes.

“First of all, I am sorry for my teammates,” said Balotelli to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “They train and work hard with me, so with this gesture I left them alone. I also feel guilty for the fans, who care so much, and of course the club."

And though he was slightly less charitable towards match official Luca Banti, Balotelli still attempted to apologize for confronting him after the match.

“I also apologize to the referee, as I should not have reacted that way. I do realize I have to resist in certain situations,” he reflected. ”But against Napoli it was the same old story, the fouls against me don’t seem to count, but as soon as I do anything, [it’s a foul]. I just want others to be punished for fouling me the same way I am for fouling them.”

However, the striker was also at pains to suggest that his apology was meant as repentance towards those who had chastised him, adding: “Mario got it wrong and Mario apologizes, but I don’t want to apologize to everyone because it’s not as if I killed someone.”

Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola commended the striker for his openness, and insisted that his apology did not come as a result of the condemnation faced in the wake of his dismissal.

“This is what Mario wanted to do, it’s something that comes from his heart, no one forced him,” said Raiola to Milan's official channel. “If he does not want to do a thing, he does not do it. The boy has decided to apologize because he knows he has disappointed his teammates, the fans and the club.”