Kevin-Prince Boateng has criticised Philippe Mexes’ behaviour in AC Milan’s 3-2 defeat to Juventus and backed the Lega Serie A’s decision to ban him.
Mexes received a four-game ban for punching Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini in the back of the head, a punishment which Milan have decided not to appeal against.
It is another blow to coach Massimiliano Allegri, who is already without Mario Balotelli due to suspension.
But Schalke midfielder Boateng, who moved to the Bundesliga from Milan during the summer, has warned Mexes to control his temper as it is costing the Rossoneri dear.
"I think a four-game ban is fair," Boateng told Italia 1 television. "Philippe has got to calm himself down a bit. He’s one of my best friends and he always wants to give it everything, but clearly he exaggerated, even if it can happen in a game like that to lose your head."
The 3-2 defeat to Juventus not only cost Milan one of their ever-present central defenders this season, but saw them drift 13 points off the summit of the table.
However, that does not mean Milan will not be in the thick of the action when European places are dished out in May, according to Boateng.
"I never expected them to be so far behind, but I know them," he added. "They are a very strong side and they’ll do well this year. We made a poor start last season, but still made it into the Champions League."
Boateng was also a victim of racial discrimination during his Milan days, the Ghanaian walking out of a mid-season friendly last January and, in doing so, increasing sensitivity to the issue. The Rossoneri have once again fallen foul of a greater focus on racism and more severe league rules with the San Siro closed for their upcoming clash with Udinese, pending an appeal.
However, Boateng has once again denied that he left the club due to racially-motivated reasons.
"I’ve said it and I’ll repeat it again – I don’t think Italy is a racist country," Boateng said. "There are just a few idiots who go to the stadium and enjoy themselves in that way. Sometimes I think back to what happened in Busto Arsizio against Pro Patria. It’s an ugly thought, of course, and I don’t understand how things like this can still happen in the year 2013."