Mario Balotelli has again been caught speeding in his Ferrari, police told AFP Tuesday as media reports claimed the striker had been caught doing 170-200kmh (105-125mph) in a race with a friend’s Lamborghini.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker, now at French club Nice, was stopped by a highway patrol on the A4 highway near the northern Italian town of Vicenza on Saturday, a local officer told AFP.
Media reports claimed Balotelli had been doing up to 200kmh but had escaped with a fine and five penalty points because he had only been registered at 170kmh.
The police confirmed the star had been caught and fined, along with the Lamborghini driver, but described accounts of the incident as “exaggerated”.
Balotelli, who turns 27 on Saturday, concurred.
“Given that doing 200 kmh on a motorway is a criminal offence, it is absolutely untrue,” he said in a video posted on his Instagram account.
The striker said the version of events leaked to the Italian media must have come from “jealous people”.
“Jealous of what I don’t know, maybe the car, I don’t know,” he said.
“The (police) check was a normal one, I went on my way calmly. Italian newspapers always make up rubbish. They never check if a report is true or false. It’s shame.
“The Italians will never change. I’m good in France, really good.”
Police said they could not say exactly how fast Balotelli had been going but confirmed he had been allowed to continue his journey after paying his fine and having five penalty points registered on his licence.
Balotelli racked up no fewer than 18 fines for traffic offences – mostly speeding – in the space of two years in Italy in 2012 and 2013, often on the same A4 road.
In 2015, when he was playing for Liverpool, he was banned from driving for 28 days after being clocked driving at 109mph (175kmh) on the M62 motorway in northern England.
The Vicenza police spokesman said that, in contrast to some of his previous encounters with traffic police, Balotelli had apologised and calmly accepted his punishment.