Cesare Prandelli apologises for Mario Balotelli 'skin colour' joke

Prandelli apologises for Balotelli 'skin colour' joke
© PA Photos
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli apologises for joking that Mario Balotelli's skin colour was the reason he was allowed to leave the team hotel to attend a charity project.

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has apologised for saying earlier today that Mario Balotelli was the only Azzurri player allowed out of his team hotel because "his colour is a little different than ours".

Balotelli was given permission to break current security protocol in Brazil to take part in charity work, with the striker helping a social project in the slums of Salvador.

Prandelli had initially said that the AC Milan striker was allowed out purely due to his skin colour, with a swift apology soon following as he insisted that the statement was merely a joke.

He told reporters: "Before I said something about the colour of our skin, I'm sorry. It was a joke, of course.

"I am glad we clarified that issue about why he was the only one allowed out. He was surrounded by all these people but he was working with a charity and doing something nice."

Italy will play host nation Brazil tonight in their final Confederations Cup group match, with both sides hoping to avoid a semi-final clash with Spain.

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Italy's Andrea Pirlo celebrates scoring the opening goal during the soccer Confederations Cup group A match against Mexico on June 16, 2013
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