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Balotelli banned for three matches after insulting official

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Maverick forward Mario Balotelli was given a three-match ban on Tuesday for insulting the fourth official at the end of AC Milan's 2-2 draw at Fiorentina at the weekend. Balotelli was due to face an automatic one-match suspension for accumulating four yellow cards when he was needlessly booked for failing to retreat at a free kick.

Football: Balotelli suspended for three games - league

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 in last Sunday's 2-2 draw against Fiorentina. He was banned for a further two games after insulting a linesman 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.

Balotelli caught smoking, gets banned, throws tantrum

(Reuters) - Mario Balotelli had been on his best behaviour since joining AC Milan but the maverick striker's old habits resurfaced at the weekend when he was fined for smoking in a train toilet and suspended for a needless yellow card. Balotelli, who has scored seven goals since his January move from Manchester City, also threw a tantrum at the end of the 2-2 draw against Fiorentina after he was involved in an altercation with rival goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

Football: Balotelli lauds goal but rues missed chances

Mario Balotelli admitted he should have scored more in a 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil despite scoring a superb equaliser for the Azzurri. Italy, the four-time World Cup winners, went in for the half-time break 2-0 down to the five-time champions following goals from Fred and Oscar. However Cesare Prandelli switched from from a two-man attack to a 4-3-3, giving Italy more width. It proved a decisive move, with two goals coming from Italy in the space of three minutes courtesy of Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Balotelli.

Italy coach Prandelli praises team player Balotelli

By Brian Homewood GENEVA (Reuters) - Mario Balotelli earned lavish praise for his team spirit from Italy coach Cesare Prandelli following his performance in the 2-2 draw in a friendly against Brazil on Thursday. "I know how he really wants to be one of the best in the world but he has to remember how he can get there, and that is through team work," Prandelli told reporters. "That is what he did tonight, like a true champion."

Football: Balotelli levels as Italy draw 2-2 with Brazil

Daniele De Rossi sparked Italy's fightback and Mario Balotelli scored a superb second-half equaliser as the Azzurri battled to a 2-2 draw against an impressive Brazil in a friendly on Thursday. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, hosts of the 2014 World Cup and possible future opponents of Italy at the Confederations Cup, came into this match looking for a win following a 2-1 loss to England last month.

Italy's Balotelli upstages Neymar in Brazil draw

By Brian Homewood GENEVA (Reuters) - Italy striker Mario Balotelli left his Brazil counterpart Neymar in the shadows as he capped an inspiring performance with a majestic goal in a 2-2 international friendly draw on Thursday. Balotelli curled an unstoppable shot past Julio Cesar as Italy recovered from 2-0 down at halftime to deny Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari his first win since being reappointed for a second stint in November.

Soccer-Injured Balotelli out of Lazio clash

By Terry Daley ROME, March 1 (Reuters) - Mario Balotelli will miss AC Milan's Serie A match with Lazio on Saturday (1945 GMT) after picking up a knee injury in the Milan derby, club manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday. "Balotelli won't play against Lazio, he has internal bruising and he isn't available," Allegri told Milan's official TV station Milan Channel. "He's been out of action for a week and can't play." Allegri later told reporters that the striker was "99.9 percent" certain to not play.

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Inter fined 50,000 euros for Balotelli racist abuse

(Adds details, Balotelli fine) Feb 26 (Reuters) - Inter Milan have been fined 50,000 euros ($66,100) after fans racially abused their former player Mario Balotelli in Sunday's derby with AC Milan, Serie A's disciplinary commissioner said in a statement on Tuesday. Balotelli, himself, has been fined 10,000 euros for an "insulting gesture" towards Inter fans at the end of the 1-1 draw.

Italian media shrug off racist abuse of Balotelli

* Balotelli abused during Milan derby against his former team * Racism gets little attention in Italian media * Player becomes political symbol in general election ROME, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Racist chants against Mario Balotelli made little impact in Italian media on Monday, which focused more on the AC Milan striker's failure to score in his first city derby against his former club Inter.
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