Paolo Berlusconi draws line under Mario Balotelli race row

New AC Milan signing Mario Balotelli warms up prior to his side's match with Udinese on February 3, 2013
© AP Photos
Paolo Berlusconi says that Mario Balotelli understood his seemingly racist remark during a political rally in Monza was a term of endearment.

AC Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi has claimed that the media whipped up a frenzy after he used a racist word to describe Mario Balotelli.

The 64-year-old caused controversy when he referred to Balotelli as his family's "little n****r" at the end of a political rally in Monza, just hours before the Italian international made his debut for the club.

Berlusconi - the younger brother of Milan owner and former Italian prime minister Silvio - was pictured shaking hands with the striker at the Rossoneri's training ground yesterday morning.

He then spoke to theclub's official TV station to announce that there is no ill feeling between the pair.

"I spoke to Balotelli, though in reality there was no need, seeing as he is an intelligent lad," Berlusconi told Milan Channel.

"He had already understood my phrase was an affectionate one that was turned into a stupid media circus.

"Let us close this story, as Mario told me there was no need to say anything else."

Balotelli went on to score both goals in a 2-1 win over Udinese at the San Siro.

New AC Milan signing Mario Balotelli warms up prior to his side's match with Udinese on February 3, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan11003033
2Inter Milan11003033
3Juventus11003033
4Napoli11003123
5AC Chievo VeronaChievo11002113
6Sampdoria11002113
7Roma11001013
8Bologna10101101
9Torino10101101
10Genoa10100001
11Lazio10100001
12SPALSPAL10100001
13SassuoloSassuolo10100001
14BeneventoBenevento100112-10
15Udinese100112-10
16Atalanta BCAtalanta100101-10
17Hellas VeronaHellas Verona100113-20
18CagliariCagliari100103-30
19Crotone100103-30
20Fiorentina100103-30