Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was in shock yesterday over a press report in Italy.

The Daily Mail says Balotelli has found himself at the centre of a new race row, this time sparked by a deeply offensive cartoon depicting him as King Kong in a leading Italian newspaper.

On the morning of Italy's European Championship encounter with England, Gazzetta dello Sport published a drawing of a giant Balotelli atop Big Ben swatting away footballs in the same way King Kong did aircrafts atop New York's Empire State Building in the film.

The Balotelli camp was understood to be outraged by the cartoon and Gazzetta have issued an apology.