Monday January 20 2020
Cellino: 'Balotelli pressure on referees'

Brescia President Massimo Cellino feels Mario Balotelli is treated more harshly by referees because “he is so much in the spotlight.”

The striker lasted just seven minutes when coming off the bench against Cagliari on Sunday afternoon.

He received a yellow card for a clumsy, high tackle, then clearly insulted the referee, resulting in a second booking.

“Serie A is becoming difficult for everyone and that puts the referee under a bit too much pressure too,” Cellino told reporters at the Lega Serie A meeting in Milan.

“It was a little excessive, even if perhaps the rules suggest it was the right decision. I don’t know if he would’ve done the same if it was a different player and not Balotelli, as he is so much in the spotlight that in turn he puts referees under more pressure when making decisions.

“I don’t know precisely what Balotelli said to him and if the referee made that decision, there must’ve been a good reason.”

It remains to be seen how long Balo’s ban will be, considering he also continued to hurl abuse at various officials on his way off the pitch.

He could not play the first four Serie A games of the season for Brescia due to an outstanding ban from his time at Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille.

During his club career, the 29-year-old has played 377 competitive games, scoring 151 goals, with 12 dismissals (seven of them straight reds) and 119 yellow cards.

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