AC Milan news

Balotelli: Refs are treating me harshly

April 29, 2013
By ESPN staff

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has claimed match officials are stricter with him than other players after he was booked for dissent during Sunday's 4-2 win over Catania.

Serie A
AssociatedBalotelli's penalty against Catania was his eighth goal in nine appearances for the club

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The Italy international was only able to play in the match at San Siro after having his ban for verbally abusing an assistant referee in the 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in early April reduced by one game.

He found himself in trouble against Catania for reacting angrily when what he perceived to be a 72nd-minute foul on him went unpunished.

Referee Davide Massa showed Balotelli his fifth yellow card in nine games since joining Milan from Manchester City in January, and the 22-year-old said afterwards that he believes he is treated differently to other players when it comes to disciplinary matters.

"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."

Balotelli's 90th-minute penalty - his eighth for the club - put the gloss on a victory that lifted the Rossoneri up to third in the Serie A table with four games remaining.