SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Mario Balotelli has been given special permission to attend a charity event on Friday while the rest of Italy's squad is being kept inside the team hotel to avoid running into anti-government protests.

Why the exception?

Coach Cesare Prandelli says with a laugh, "He was the only one who had permission because his color is a little different than ours."

Prandelli later clarified his statement during a Confederations Cup news conference, saying he was joking. He added that Balotelli — the son of Ghanaian immigrants and Italy's only black player — was allowed out because he was accompanied by people showing him where to go and because he was taking part in a social project.

It doesn't appear that Balotelli was offended. He tweeted, "I look like a person from Bahia!!!"

 

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