For fans of Serie A, the news that Mario Balotelli has been struck with a three-game ban for his intimidatory and aggressive reaction to his side’s 2-1 loss against Rafael Benitez’s Napoli side will have a major factor on where they place their money this season.
Having scored fifteen goals from his first seventeen games playing for Milan, he is enjoying the form of his life. This hot streak coupled, with a perceived improvement in his behaviour – both on and off the field – has led the pundits on the bet365 site to believe that the title will be heading the way of i Rossoneri.
But this recent indiscretion will have fans believing that Balotelli’s mean streak may well have returned with a vengeance – but, even if this isn’t true, and this was just a case of his frustrations getting the better of him after a disappointing result, certainly Massimiliano Allegri’s team will feel his absence while he is suspended.
Speaking after his star striker was shown a red card at the San Siro, the Milan manager refused to comment directly, but the overall tone was one of disappointment that the Italian had again courted unnecessary controversy:
“I don’t know what to say about the protests at the end – it’s better not to create confusion. The referee has already made up his mind.”
Whilst Milan remain free to appeal against the punishment, Balotelli’s ban will see him miss his side’s top-flight fixtures against Bologna, Sampdoria and Juventus, three games which can’t fail to have an impact on the race for the title. Consequently, people who bet on football ought to keep an eye on the latest markets over the next few days.