Balotelli lashes out at officials

The Rossoneri striker feels that he is being victimised by referees and their assistants, claiming that he is banned for offences that his peers get away with

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has claimed that he is being treated differently to other players by match officials after picking up a booking for dissent in his side’s 4-2 victory over Catania on Sunday.

The Italy international picked up the mandatory one-game ban after collecting a yellow card in his side’s draw at Fiorentina earlier this month, but it was extended by two matches after the striker was found to have verbally abused an assistant referee during the 2-2 draw at the Artemio Franchi.

Balotelli’s suspension was eventually reduced to two games, thus clearing him to face Catania at San Siro, but he found himself in hot water again with the officials after reacting angrily to what he felt was a free kick midway through the second half.

“It is not normal that I have to take so many kicks and yet they don’t whistle for anything, and then when I just say one word, they ban me,” the former Manchester City striker told Sky Sport Italia.

“As a result, I cannot play. I say half a word and they book me, while others can do what they want.”

Milan’s 4-2 win was also notable for a backlash from some Milan fans in relation to Sunday’s reports in the Italian press that Rossoneri owner Silvio Berlusconi is considering sacking coach Massmiliano Allegri and replacing him with former midfielder Clarence Seedorf.

“The president can say and do what he wants,” Balotelli said of the rumours. “But we hope that Allegri will stay.”

Balotelli also took time out, though, to commiserate with former Inter team-mate Javier Zanettii, who suffered a suspect Achilles tendon injury on Sunday, thus putting his career in doubt.

“I want to wish Javier Zanetti a speedy recovery, because he’s a great champion but first and foremost a great man.”

Going back to the victory over Catania, Balotelli was quick to pay tribute to team-mate Giampaolo Pazzini, who came off the bench with Milan a goal down and netted twice in three minutes to turn the game on its head.

“We made life complicated for ourselves in the second half,” the striker mused.

“We conceded two stupid goals but we reacted like a great team and Pazzini scored two important goals, so I congratulate him for that.”

Milan’s victory moves them back above Fiorentina and into third place in Serie A.

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