Italian daily newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has apologized for printing a cartoon portraying black Italy striker Mario Balotelli as King Kong.
Media reports said Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola had reacted with fury at the cartoon, which comes after the 21-year-old has battled racism in his homeland and abroad for years.
The cartoon showed the Manchester City forward on top of London's Big Ben swatting away soccer balls was meant to be depict how he had conquered English soccer.
"We can honestly say it is not one of the best efforts by our great cartoonist," the newspapder said. "If someone found it offensive we are sorry. This newspaper has always fought against racism in stadiums and denounced monkey noises aimed at Balotelli."