The doctor played down the severity of the coronavirus outbreak and suggested that Italians were making the most of it
The Lazio striker was left infuriated by the comments in the wake of a crisis in Italy that has left more than 1,250 dead and over 17,000 ill.
The pandemic has not hit the UK in the same manner as yet, with 798 cases of the illness confirmed as of Friday, March 13, with 10 having passed away.
Discussing the issue on FUBAR Radio ’s ‘Access All Areas’, the Embarrassing Bodies star said: “This might be a little bit racist to say this, [and] you’ll have to make apologies, but do you not think it’s a bit of an excuse?
“The Italians, any old excuse to, you know, shut down everything and stop work for a bit and have a long siesta.
“I think it’s an epidemic lived out more in the press than in reality.
“I mean if you think about flu right, without getting too heavy, flu kills thousands every single year.”
Immobile took aim at the doctor on Instagram, saying: “Go tell that to the relatives of people who have died or those who are fighting for their lives in hospital: d*ckhead! I tell you this from the heart: f*ck off!”
The Italy international has enjoyed a stellar season as he leads the Serie A goalscoring charts with 27 goals in 26 games – the best return of any forward in Europe this term.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund hitman has played a leading role as Lazio have launched an unexpected challenge for the Scudetto, which sees them sit second in the table, a point behind leaders Juventus.
However, Serie A, like much of the country, is under lockdown due to the pandemic, with April 4 tentatively pencilled in as the date when football will begin once more in the country.
All of Europe’s top leagues are currently in a suspended state, while UEFA has confirmed that the forthcoming Champions League and Europa League matches, which were scheduled for next week, will be postponed until such a time it is safe to play them.