Mario Balotelli Receives 3-Game Ban, Milan Will Not Appeal Ruling
Mario Balotelli had a rough Sunday.
Not only did he miss his first penalty in 22 tries, but he now also faces a three-match ban after confronting a referee following AC Milan's 2-1 loss against Napoli.
From Football Italia:
Mario Balotelli’s post-game confrontation with the referee has cost him a three-match ban. He’ll miss Milan’s games against Bologna, Sampdoria and Juventus.
The Italian international was shown the red card by referee Banti after the final whistle for taking his protests too far following the 2-1 loss against Napoli last night.
Milan are ready to appeal against the sentence.
Milan have since decided not to appeal the ban after seeing the reasoning behind the decision.
UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 26
Balotelli has issued an apology for his actions that led to a three-game ban (via Yahoo! Sports):
"I apologise to my team mates, who train hard every day. I also apologise to the referee," he said in an interview with Sky Sports Italia. "I reacted the wrong way to provocation.
"Mario has made a mistake," he added. "He has been provoked and made a mistake in reacting.
"If Mario makes a bad mistake, Mario should be punished...But against Napoli it was the same old story, the fouls against me didn't count for anything, I was the only one who could do anything wrong."
UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 24
AC Milan has decided not to appeal Mario Balotelli's three-match ban for dissent after seeing the official statement on the decision, per the Associated press (via Fox Sports):
''Mario is no longer a child, he is 23 years old and he has to change,'' Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. ''He is a potential champion but he has to stop certain attitudes towards referees.
''I believe Mario has enough good sense and capacity to understand that it's an important year and that he is in a situation in which he cannot make a mistake. Until now Mario has always behaved well. Sunday he made a mistake, I hope that will serve as a lesson to him. I believe I can give him a hand, but he needs to help himself too.''
Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sport expects Milan to win the appeal:
Expecting Mario Balotelli's appeal to be accepted and the ban to be shortened to two matches.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) September 23, 2013
Balotelli was quite good in the match, scoring Milan's lone goal in the 91st minute and hitting the crossbar earlier in the second half. WhoScored.com gave him a 7.0 match rating for the game, crediting him with a total of 12 shots attempted.
In general, he's been effective for Milan this season with four goals in seven total matches.
But in his familiar fashion, he allowed his temper to get the best of him, and now AC Milan will pay the price. It could be a very steep price, indeed, as the Rossoneri already find themselves in 12th place, eight points behind table leaders Roma and Napoli.
As you might expect, his teammates and manager Massimiliano Allegri were not pleased with his postgame outburst. Allegri was particularly vocal about Balotelli's actions.
He made the following comments on Sky Sport Italia following the game, per ESPN and Ben Gladwell:
When games are over, it’s better to stay quiet and I am against hysteria. It's best to shut up and leave rather than stay there arguing with the referee, as it’s not going to change anything. Balotelli needs to improve that.
He received a fair few kicks, including many from behind, though he overall had a good game.
Of course you’ve got to be angry at the final whistle [after losing], but you’ve got to remain serene. Hysterical outbursts don’t help at all. After the final whistle, you’ve got to shut up, otherwise you only do harm.
It is a tale as old as Balotelli's career—tantalizing, game-changing talent that is accompanied by a hot temper and poor decisions in the heat of the moment.
When Balotelli exhibits more restraint and the ability to control his emotions, there is no doubt he could turn himself into one of the most dominant players in Europe.
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