‘Balotelli is no longer a child’

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Balotelli lost his temper in Milan’s 2-1 loss to Napoli on Sunday, after missing the first penalty of his career, and was sent off after making “insulting and intimidating” remarks at the referee.

The Italy international will miss his club’s the next three domestic matches, including a big Serie A fixture against Juventus.

Allegri told Balotelli publicly to “shut up” after the match, but in his post match comments insisted the maverick player does need more protection from officials.

The coach added that referees are becoming reluctant to award Balotelli free-kicks because of his attitude.

“Mario has made a mistake, penalising the team, club and the fans and he must change this,” the coach said.

“Balotelli should help referees to protect him because if another player had suffered the fouls he did on Sunday then they would have whistled. The referees should be left alone because they can be influenced by negative attitudes.

“Mario is 23 years old, he is no longer a child and to be a champion you have to have a correct behaviour because you are an example for all those who look up to you. I hope for him he benefits from it and realises that he’s put the team and the club in difficulty.

“You have to go on the pitch thinking about doing well. When you finish the game you need to go in the dressing room, accept what happened and think of working to do better. The club will decide what to do about Mario.”

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