Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli is the most targeted player in the Premier League for social media abuseGetty

Mario Balotelli, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge have been subjected to more than 11,300 cases of discriminatory posts on social media, according to data gathered by Kick It Out.

Collectively, Premier League clubs and players have been targeted with 134,400 instances of discriminatory abuse on Twitter, Facebook, fan forums and blogs during the 2014-15 season alone.

The research found Chelsea were the club who have attracted the highest volume of discriminatory posts, having been subjected to 20,000 messages.

Liverpool striker Balotelli, meanwhile, was targeted with more abuse than any other player, with over half of the 8,000 discriminatory posts directed at him of a racist nature.

Arsenal striker Welbeck was the target of 1,700 discriminatory posts. Exactly 50% of those were racist.

England international Sturridge was the third most targeted Premier League player, with more than 60% of the 1,600 discriminatory posts aimed at him based on sexual orientation.

Social media activity on Twitter accounted for 88% of the 134,400 discriminatory posts this season, with 8% coming from Facebook, 3% from fan forums and 1% from blogs.

The research, conducted by social media management company Tempero and Brandwatch, a social intelligence and analytics company, also found 28% of the discriminatory posts were of a racist nature.

Abuse relating to gender (25%), sexual orientation (19%), disability (11%), anti-Semitism (9%) islamophobia (5%), age (2%) and gender reassignment (1%) accounted for the rest of the 134,400 messages.

"This is a huge amount of awful abuse," Roisin Wood, Kick It Out's chief executive, said. "A lot of it is vile, and something needs to be done. We are really frustrated by the police response but we also understand that they cannot investigate all of this.

"We have to take it seriously and that is why we are inviting the relevant bodies and authorities to work together to find ways of addressing it."