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Balotelli: Refs are treating me harshly

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.

• Blog: Pazzini rescues Milan

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.

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