Giorgio Chiellini says Mario Balotelli “deserved a slap” for his attitude during Italy’s 2013 Confederations Cup campaign.
Italy lost 4-2 to Brazil in the group stage of the tournament, eventually going on to finish third – and the defender says Balotelli didn’t help his team during that early defeat.
National team boss Roberto Mancini recently said the door was open for Balotelli to return for his country, but the forward has won just three caps in the last five years.
“Balotelli is a negative person with no respect for the team,” Chiellini wrote in an upcoming autobiography, as he confirmed to La Reppublica.
“In 2013, in the Confederations Cup against Brazil, he didn't help us at all. He deserved a slap.
“Someone thinks he is among the top five players in the world, I never even thought that he could be in the top ten or twenty.”
Chiellini also took aim at former Juventus and Inter midfielder Felipe Melo.
“Felipe Melo is even worse: the worst of the worst. 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.
“I don't hold a grudge or care about it anymore, if I have to share something with them I will. I'm not everyone's best friend but they are the only two who have gone beyond an acceptable limit.
“The problem isn't whether you play well or badly or if you have an off day, but that you lack respect and have nothing inside. Once is alright, if it happens again it's not.”
The stalwart defender will no doubt have ingratiated himself with Juventus’ support even more with his autobiography, in which he also outlined his passionate hatred of rivals Inter.
On Inter: "I hate them as Michael Jordan hates the Pistons, it's impossible not to hate them.
“Sporting hatred is essential in football".
Now 35 and recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear, Chiellini is likely coming towards the end of his Juventus career.
Since joining from Roma in 2005, he has played more than 500 times for the club, as well as racking up a century of senior international appearances.