Felipe Melo and Mario Balotelli have hit back in explosive fashion at derogatory comments aimed at the pair by Giorgio Chiellini.
In excerpts from the Juventus defender’s upcoming autobiography, both players came in for some heavy criticism.
“Balotelli is a negative person with no respect for the team,” Chiellini said of his former Italy team-mate.
“In 2013, in the Confederations Cup against Brazil, he didn’t help us at all. He deserved a slap.”
But even worse was saved for Melo, the Brazilian midfielder who represented both Juve and rivals Inter.
“Felipe Melo is even worse: the worst of the worst,” Chiellini wrote.
“I can’t stand disrespectful people, those who always want to go against the grain. There was always a fight with him. I told the coaches: he’s a rotten apple.”
Now Melo, speaking to the Gazzetta dello Sport, says Chiellini “p*ssed himself with fear”, calling him out for making his comments in his autobiography rather than to Melo’s face.
“First of all, it would be interesting to know which episodes he is referring to,” Melo mused.
“When I was in Turin, I never disrespected anyone: my team-mates, the managers, Juventus in general.
“At this point, however, I have no respect for him and I never will.
“He says that Balotelli is to be slapped and that I am the worst of the worst because he always risked a fight because of me?
“Well, he always p*ssed himself with fear. Sorry, but it’s too easy to speak ill of others with a book.
“Maybe ‘this defender’ is still mad at me because when I went to Galatasaray, we slapped them out of the Champions League.
“Maybe it’s because Inter won everything and I’m an Interista.
“And another thing comes to mind: we beat Italy 3-0 in the 2009 Confederations Cup and we won it.
“Maybe that’s why he’s torturing himself. Furthermore, at international level, he hasn’t won anything.
“In conclusion, saying certain things is unprofessional. This is disrespect. I’ll stop here and won’t add anything else – certain things must remain in the changing rooms.”
Balotelli was hardly likely to take Chiellini’s comments lying down either, and responded on Instagram.
Article continues below “At least I have the sincerity and courage to say things face to face,” he wrote on his story.
“You’ve had plenty of opportunities since 2013 to behave like a real man but you didn’t – who knows what you will say one day about your current team-mates.
“Strange captain. If that’s what it means to be a champion, I prefer not to be – and I never disrespected the blue jersey.”