Soccer: Milan mulls minder for mercurial Balotelli
Security chief could provide guidance for star striker24 October, 16:19
Ex-police officer Filippo Ferri, who is the club's security chief and is himself no stranger to controversy, is said to be the likely candidate for the position.
Milan reportedly believe the 23-year-old Balotelli, a former bad boy who met Pope Francis in August for a private conversation, needs more off-field guidance to control his behavior. The club had no comment on the minder reports Thursday, saying only that Ferri "is responsible for the security of (AC) Milan" overall.
Giancarlo Abete, the head of the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC), was sceptical of the idea of a minder, saying that Italian teammates look after one another.
Less than a week ago, Balotelli took to his Twitter account @FinallyMario to call on the media to leave him alone after he was embroiled in the latest in a long series of controversies that almost always draw a lot of attention.
On October 13 he was seen grappling with a TV cameraman who got too close, and followed that with the tweet: "Stop talking and talking and talking and live and let live!".
"Live and let me live and you'll see the differences!".
Last month, the volatile centre-forward, who has been a posterboy for Italian soccer's fight against racism, was handed a three-match ban and was required to apologize after insulting a referee during a match with Napoli.
Media attention became hotter than ever in August when Sports Illustrated magazine named Balotelli as "the most interesting man in the world".
Its August cover photo showed the Ghanaian-Italian in a Jesus-like pose, arms outstretched and apparently walking on a Miami swimming pool.
"He's Italian, he's African, friend to popes and prime ministers, subject of racist hate and wild adulation (and) the best young striker in football," the monthly sports bible said. But the appointment of former policeman Ferri could also prove controversial. Ferri, son of former minister of public works Enrico Ferri, was sentenced to a jail term of three years and eight months in connection with police brutality after two days of violent mayhem during the Group of Eight (G8) in 2001 when more than 300,000 protesters converged on Genoa.
Police shot one protester to death and beat hundreds of others, while many businesses were ransacked by demonstrators during the chaos.
In one attack that grabbed headlines worldwide, police made a nighttime raid on the Diaz school, which was being used by G8 protestors as sleeping quarters, leaving three people comatose and sending 26 to hospital.