ROME (AP) — Mario Balotelli's latest tweets could result in a social media ban for Italy's players at next year's World Cup.
Balotelli sparked some controversy when he took issue with a Gazzetta dello Sport article that said he would be the face of Italy's battle against the Camorra when the Azzurri trained on Monday with a club that was stripped of its organized crime ties.
A tweet from Balotelli included a photo of the article and said, "That's what you say! I'm coming because football is great and everyone should play it where they want to and then there's the match!!!!"
In an interview with Italian state TV RAI on Tuesday, coach Cesare Prandelli was asked if he was considering banning social media during the World Cup. "Yes," he responded. "We're really thinking about that. For the period of the World Cup we'll have a fairly rigid internal rule."
Pablo Osvaldo, another Italy forward, was removed from the Confederations Cup squad this year after using Twitter to insult his club coach. Since taking over the national team after the 2010 World Cup, Prandelli has installed a strict code of ethics for players.
However, players were allowed to use social media at last year's European Championship, in which the Azzurri reached the final, and at the Confederations Cup, where Italy finished third.