Verona mayor Flavio Tosi has claimed that AC Milan star Mario Balotelli provokes racists with his behaviour on the pitch.
Tosi, a member of the Lega Nord party, made the comments ahead of this weekend's Serie A game between Hellas Verona and the Rossoneri as fears have been raised about potential racist incidents.
Verona fans have been punished for such behaviour in the past, yet Tosi hopes that there will not be a repeat incident during Saturday's match versus Balotelli's Milan and has called on the Italy international to tone down his antics.
"Will I reassure Balotelli about coming to Verona? There are two aspects here," Tosi told reporters. "One is the fans, the other is the club that has always worked hard to improve the behaviour of the fans. If someone acts like a cretin, he'll be in the minority.
"However, if Balotelli provoked people a bit less, then it would be even better. There are many black players, but not all of them stoke the ire of the opposition fans and most have no problems.
"Balotelli is very good at making himself unlikeable."
Saturday's encounter is scheduled to kick off at 18:00CET.