Roma captain Francesco Totti has denied claims he fired racist insults at Mario Balotelli ahead of kicking out at the Inter Milan striker.
Totti was sent off for his ugly challenge in Roma’s Coppa Italia final defeat.
Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, told the media that Totti was the one doing the provoking with a racist insult.
“I have never been a racist. I will never be a racist,” wrote Totti on his official website. “I have never said a racist comment. I say it now with absolute certainty: Never.
“With the same strength, I wish to say that there is behaviour akin to racism when it involves insulting someone purely for where they were born.”
Totti claims the Inter striker provoked him by insulting Rome and his Roman roots.
“In the past two days I have carefully considered the whole affair. I have decided to completely express my thoughts and state of mind only at the end of the season.”