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De Rossi banned for three games

Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi has been handed a three-match ban following his red card in Sunday's Rome derby.

De Rossi, 29, was sent off for punching Lazio's Stefano Mauri during the 3-2 away loss and the Lega Calcio, in a disciplinary announcement on Tuesday, confirmed he will be unavailable for three games.

Speaking after the match, Federico Balzaretti defended his team-mate De Rossi, saying the midfielder should not be made a scapegoat following his dismissal.

"We're all close to Daniele because he shouldn't be the scapegoat - we all made mistakes and the defeat was not as a direct result of Daniele's sending off," he said.

"A lot of things are being said about De Rossi, but he is someone who always works very hard, he's really happy at Roma, he's signed a new contract here and I think he wants to stay. He's one of our leaders."

The former Palermo man also discussed the decision to exclude De Rossi from the Italy squad to face France this week - in line with Cesare Prandelli's code of ethics for the Azzurri players - following the sending-off.

He said: "I don't know whether his exclusion is right or wrong, [but] there is this code, and the coach made his decision."

Prandelli explained his decision, saying: "I have no doubt that he will be key for us at the World Cup. Therefore, this punishment will serve to teach him that he cannot repeat such behaviour at a World Cup.

"He has too much of a fan's mentality. When you're handed responsibility, you have to behave accordingly. I'm sure he's very sorry for what's happened."

Roma face Torino this weekend and will also be without Nicolas Burdiso and Panagiotis Tachtsidis due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Meanwhile, Lazio will be forced to travel to Juventus without both Mauri and Senad Lulic while the Champions will miss Andrea Pirlo after his yellow card in the win over Pescara.

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