AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli faces ban after confrontation with ref

Mario Balotelli is good friends with controversy. Photo: PA

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been handed a three-match Serie A suspension after directing a volley of abuse at a match official on Sunday.

Balotelli picked up his fourth booking of the season during the 2-2 draw against Fiorentina to earn an automatic one-match ban.

The league today confirmed two further matches have been added for the Italy international's actions at the end of the match, when the January signing from Manchester City directed insults at one of the assistant referees.

The ban rules Balotelli out of the meetings with Napoli, Juventus and Catania - crucial matches in Milan's bid to secure automatic qualification for the Champions League.

The 22-year-old has made a major impact since returning to Italy, scoring 10 goals in 11 matches for club and country this year, but Milan got a taste for his more controversial side this weekend.

Chief executive Adriano Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport Balotelli is also facing a club fine for smoking in the toilets on the train to the match.