Mario Balotelli has publicly apologised after making a crude rape joke while appearing on Italian Celebrity Big Brother.
Balotelli directed the joke at contestant Dayane Mello during a guest appearance on the reality game show, which his brother Enock is participating in.
And when told by the presenter “Dayane wanted you in the house”, Balotelli shocked the audience by responding “Yes, but then she’d go ‘stop, stop, it hurts'”.
The 30-year-old then burst into laughter and subsequently faced huge criticism on social media for his appalling remark.
But Balotelli insisted he is friends with Mello and the joke was not out of keeping with things they say to each other as he issued a public apology.
He wrote on Instagram : “Girls, I apologise if anyone felt offended! I know Dayane well and we have a way of talking that might seem vulgar, but I care for her a great deal!
“So enough of this feminist or misogynist, I apologise for anyone who felt offended, but if you don’t know the rapport between people before judging, then get some information first!
“I have two mothers, three sisters and one daughter, so women are my life, stop speculating on things you don’t know about! I love you all, goodnight.”
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Balotelli is currently a free agent after he was released from Italian club Brescia upon their relegation from Serie A last season.
He re-found his goalscoring form with Nice after leaving Liverpool in 2016 and spent a brief spell with Marseille.
Balotelli has recently been linked with a return to England, with Watford reportedly interested, while he is also linked with Serie A club Genoa and Turkish giants Besiktas.
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