Mario Balotelli has been cleared of a rape allegation after a 16-year-old girl accused the footballer of the offence in Nice, with the Italian counter-accusing her of an extortion plot.
The incident allegedly occurred in July 2017, when the former Manchester City. star was playing for French side Nice.
The 31-year-old said that the pair had met when she was on holiday and they had consensual sex, after which she contacted him asking for €100,000 (£84,930).
Balotelli reported the attempted extortion attempt to the police, three weeks before his accuser and her lawyer contacted authorities.
However, Italian police in Balotelli’s home town of Brescia have closed the case, deeming that any accusation levelled at the footballer was ‘unfounded’.
‘Balotelli is satisfied, as this was an unacceptable and insulting accusation,’ the Italian’s lawyer said.
‘It’s a pity for the girl, who proved herself to be an instrument in the hands of an adult without scruples.’
A judge ruled that witness evidence and telephone conversation recordings with Balotelli proved a ‘machination’ to extort money.
The 31-year-old now plays for Turkish side Adana Demirspor, having moved from Monza this summer.