Balotelli labelled 'embarrassing' by Brescia owner Cellino

Brescia president Massimo Cellino has said he is "embarrassed" by forward Mario Balotelli, who he signed on a free transfer in the summer.

Balotelli, who grew up in Brescia, joined his hometown club when they returned to Serie A after an 11-year absence. However, the 29-year-old scored just five goals with Brescia rooted to the bottom of the table -- 10 points from safety -- when Serie A was stopped in March.

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In December, Cellino was asked about Balotelli's future and suggested the Italy international was free to leave at the end of the season.

"The lad embarrasses me," Cellino told Italian station Radio Sportiva, when asked about Balotelli. "I'm hammered every day and am pilloried.

"That I brought him home over-exposed him. You only mention Balotelli for what he does off the pitch not on it and that is embarrassing."

Cellino courted controversy in November when he claimed the constant criticism of Balotelli was down to the fact he "was black." The ex-Leeds owner later claimed it had been a joke.

Serie A was stopped with 12 matches to go for most teams, while some had 13 due to postponements caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Sources have told ESPN that the Italian FA will announce the cut off point for ending the season is Aug. 2, yet it remains unclear when the league will restart if it does at all with the presidents of Torino and Fiorentina having expressed their doubts.

And Cellino, who has led the calls for the season to be cancelled, defended his belief it would not be right for the 2019-20 campaign to reach a natural conclusion.

"It may seem that I only want the league to be cancelled because we are bottom and I don't want to be relegated, but I don't agree with league's arrogant message," he added. "It is unthinkable to go beyond June 30 with [contract] expiries and budgets.

"The champions has been de facto annulled because it is falsified. We need to start thinking about next season. Talk of playing again is embarrassing."

Information from ESPN's Andrew Cesare Richardson was used in this report