Mario Balotelli has moved to dismiss reports in the Italian press that he was caught speeding whilst on a trip to Naples.
The Nice striker was alleged to have been clocked doing 200km/h (around 125mph) in his Ferrari near to the town of Vicenza in the north of the country, and was apparently given five penalty points and fined for his troubles.
However, in a video posted to his personal Instagram's story account, Balotelli attacked the ridiculous nature of the media in Italy as he blasted the reports as untrue and labelled those who meant to demean his character as "jealous".
He stated: “Since it's been reported that I was doing 200km/h on the motorway is a criminal offence, it’s not true.
“It’s been reported by some jealous people, I don’t know what [they’re jealous of], maybe the car but the truth is that it was a routine check and I went on my way calmly.
“Italian newspapers are always rubbish, they never check whether something is true or false. Italy never changes, I’m happy in France.”
Media always trying 2 make Mario look bad they invent stories just 2 sell there papers— j (@1mmafan1) August 8, 2017
Police had told the Associated Free Press (via the Daily Mail) that Balotelli had been stopped by a highway patrol on the A4 highway on Saturday as he raced down the motorway against a friend's Lamborghini.
After being slapped on the wrist, traffic enforcers added that Balotelli had been allowed to go on his way - the only claim that the 26-year-old has failed to deny.
The incident is the latest in a long line of negative press articles concerning the Italy international, who has racked up an unprecedented 18 fines betwene 2012 and 2013 alone.
Balotelli has bagged 18 goals in 29 appearances for Nice since he completed a free transfer move from Liverpool last August, and is contracted to the Ligue 1 club until the summer of 2018.