Mario Balotelli in hot water, again


Thu, Apr 11, 2013 - Page 18

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been suspended for three matches by the Italian league’s disciplinary committee on Tuesday after insulting an assistant referee.

The Italy international was given a one-match ban after picking up a fourth yellow card of the season in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against ACF Fiorentina.

He was banned for a further two games after insulting an assistant referee at the end of the match, the league said in a statement.

Balotelli turned on the official, who was watching the forward having an animated discussion with Fiorentina goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

The suspension means he will miss Milan’s next two big matches against SSC Napoli and Serie A leaders Juventus, plus the encounter with Catania.

It was a controversial trip down to Florence for Balotelli, who was involved in an incident on the train from Milan on Saturday.

The 22-year-old was caught smoking in the toilet of the train, whose controller informed Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani of the indiscretion.

The chief executive joked about fining the tempestuous Italy forward who has been in hot water several times during his short career, both on and off the pitch.

He was infamous during his Manchester City days for picking up traffic fines in the city, while he had training ground bust-ups with several teammates, as well as manager Roberto Mancini.

Off the pitch he was fined by his club for throwing a dart at a youth team player, while he was in trouble with the emergency services after starting a fire in his bathroom when setting off fireworks in his house.

“Super Mario” has scored seven goals in eight games since his arrival from City in January.

His absence robs third-placed Milan of their first-choice striker as they seek to wrest second spot from Napoli.