By Will Butcher
Giuseppe Bellusci has criticised Leeds for using their Italian contingent as scapegoats for their poor form in recent seasons.
The 27-year-old is currently on a season-long loan with Serie A side Empoli after new manager Garry Monk gave the green light for the outspoken centre-back to temporarily leave Elland Road.
Speaking to Italian outlet ItaSportPress, Bellusci revealed that he believed the foreign players during his time in Yorkshire had paid for the fact that they weren’t English.
“Did we pay for the fact that we were foreigners?,” Bellusci said to ItaSportPress. “I wouldn’t say so but that’s what transpired.
“When there were troubles, it always ended up as us Italians in the middle.”
Bellusci, who was signed from Catania in 2014 by Italian owner Massimo Cellino during his first summer in charge, was a controversial figure at Elland Road.
The former Champions League side brought in an abundance of Italian players, such as Tommaso Bianchi, Mirco Antenucci and Marco Silvestri, with the latter deleting his Twitter account after favouriting a tweet that was in favour of manager Garry Monk facing the chop.
Bellusci’s most contentious moment at Elland Road came when he was accused of being racist to Norwich striker Cameron Jerome, of which he was later cleared.
Bellusci has made 61 appearances for Leeds, scoring two goals in two years at the club, and has joined an Empoli side that managed a 10th place finish in Serie A last season.
He made his debut for the club at the end of August, playing 90 minutes as they lost 2-0 to Udinese before scoring his new side’s first against Crotone in a 2-1 win.