Italian footballer Mario Balotelli has attacked the country’s first black senator in an online post. Toni Iwobi was elected on Sunday for the anti-immigration Lega party.
“Maybe I’m blind or perhaps they have not told him yet that he is black. But shame!!!” the footballer posted on Instagram.
Born in northern Nigeria, Mr Iwobi came to Italy in 1976 and became a councillor for Lega (the League) in tthe Lombardy city of Spirano in 1995. The Italy striker, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Nice, put his post on Instagram on Tuesday.
Accompanying the text was a photo of Mr Iwobi and League leader Matteo Salvini, both raising clenched fists and wearing T-shirts saying “Stop Invasion” at an anti-immigration rally.
While there have been black members of Italy’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, the 62-year-old Toni Iwobi is the first black senator.
In a Facebook post celebrating his election, Mr Iwobi thanked Mr Salvini, who he called “a great leader”.
‘Friends, it is with great emotion that I inform you that I was elected senator of the Republic! After over 25 years of battles in the great family of the league, it is about to start another great adventure! My thanks go to Matteo Salvini, a great leader who led the league to become the first centre-Centre force of the country! I have to thank then my National Secretary Paolo Grimoldi, my now former provincial secretary and new Congressman Daniele Belotti, the whole team of the department for work done over these years, the great league militants and all facebook friends for their support . I can’t forget my family, without them I wouldn’t have come here today because they never stopped supporting me and being close to me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m ready, friends!’