Ex-Roma coach Mazzone: Totti was provoked by Balotelli

Ex-Roma coach Carlo Mazzone says Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli was partly to blame for Francesco Totti's dismissal in this week's Coppa Italia final.

Ex-Roma coach Carlo Mazzone says Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli was partly to blame for Francesco Totti's dismissal in this week's Coppa Italia final.

Totti was sent-off for his terrible swipe at the youngster, but Mazzone insists Balotelli can 'provoke' opposition players.

“Let us not crucify him now,” Mazzone told calciomercato.it. “One must also say that Balotelli really does provoke people.

“Have we already forgotten this lad has argued with everyone? He’s had it out with fans, his Coach and teammates.

“It’s true that Totti stepped on to the field already tense, but that was normal considering the importance of the game.

“Then, evidently, the Inter striker said something excessive and he lost it. He ran after him and gave Balotelli a nasty kick.

“Aside from that gesture, Totti remains Totti – a wonderful and generous person who during a game lost his cool because of provocation that must not be underestimated.”

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